The Republicans Do Have Some Ideas on Health Care

Now, that’s not to say I’m at all happy with the congressional republicans right now. Too much bluster, voting no all the time, and refusing to budge on anything. And I don’t think most of their ideas will do the job either. Tort reform just isn’t going to do the trick, and cooperatives just wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective at lowering prices as the public option would be, because the cooperatives would have far less bargaining power as fewer people would be signed on to them.

However, they do have one idea, that’s really quite simple, that we should put into practice. Let people buy insurance across state lines, and force all the insurance companies in the country to compete with each other. Make them earn our business instead of being the only place to turn in a given area for coverage. As far as I’ve seen, it hasn’t been added to any reform efforts yet, and it really should be.

Now, I understand that this could cause some insurance companies to go under. While that isn’t great news, it would mostly be a result of having more companies than we need taking more money from the market of buyers than they can afford. And the health of our country comes before company survival. Of course, if too many companies fall out of business, then we’ll end up right back where we are now. I think this is unlikely to happen since there would be a much larger pool of people, so the presence of enough companies to foster competition could be supported.

That doesn’t mean we should do away with the public option though. I’m still a huge supporter of the public option, and I think it’s one of the most important parts of health care reform, along with eliminating clauses about pre-existing conditions and eliminating the ability of insurance companies to rescind coverage. The public option provides us with a non-profit option for health care, will help to keep the insurance companies honest, and can also be used to make sure a basic level of care is offered at a rate as affordable as possible. Besides which, the public option provides us with cover in case the remaining insurance companies after the dust settles decide they would like the idea of a rate hike.

But, when an idea is good, it’s good, and we ought to acknowledge that and think about how it might be incorporated into the larger policy package. Perhaps we’d hear more about it though, if the republicans would stop obstructing and start conversing.

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