Health care reform ideas that work for small business

There seems to be no stopping the government’s plan to begin the incremental takeover and ultimately control of America’s health care system. The most likely bill seems to be the one being written by Senator Max Baucus, (D-Montana), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which would result in a sweeping overhaul of an industry that is one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

But instead of health care reform for its own sake, meaning that the issues that need fixing are addressed and logical adjustments are put in place, what we now have is health care reform for the sake of politics. If you think this is an overstatement, consider this: Currently over 550 amendments have been proposed to the Baucus bill. This ridiculous number of amendments, plus the fact that there is an arbitrary push to get a bill signed into law this year, is proof that this effort is all about politics and has very little to do with quality reform.

America has a filet mignon health care system that is not perfect and could use some fixing. But please explain why we would let this sausage factory we call Congress get control of a $2.5 trillion industry that, unlike any other industry, touches the most intimate aspects of the lives of every American. Why would we allow the same people who have managed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the U.S. Postal Service into de facto bankruptcy to take over our health care system? And shouldn’t the horror we’ve seen with the mismanagement of VA hospitals give us great pause before we hand over our health care system to the government?

You would be correct to point out that the current proposals aren’t about an immediate takeover of the U.S. health care system. But anyone who thinks this isn’t the ultimate plan is living in a fantasy world. Once this bill is passed, the socialized medicine, single-payer system camel will have its nose under the free-market economy tent and it will just be a matter of time before this stinking dromedary will be wreaking havoc in America’s living rooms.

There are many ways the marketplace and government can work together to accomplish true reform, not the least of which would be tort reform, but here is just one:

Take away the employer deduction for employee health insurance expense and replace it with tax credits given to every American to shop around and buy their own health care insurance, the same way we shop for, and buy, everything else. If you, or your employer, want you to have a better plan, you can pay for that with after-tax dollars. With this plan, a federal law would also be needed to allow individuals to buy insurance across state lines, thus avoiding the various state insurance mandates

This simple reform would solve many problems, including but not limited to:
- create a more efficient insurance system
- create more competition – real market-based competition
- create more innovation, both in insurance and health care products and services
- create more marketplace jobs and fewer government jobs
- eliminate an employee being held hostage to a job because of insurance benefits
- eliminate the “pre-existing medical condition” problem
- Americans would become health care consumers, instead of just co-paying patients.

All of these elements would be good for small businesses, but especially because they would help level the benefits playing field in competing for workers.

Perhaps the greatest flaw of this health care reform idea is that it’s simple and would actually work in real life – a concept seemingly foreign to members of the political class.

As always, looking forward to your comments.

2 Responses to “Health care reform ideas that work for small business”

  1. 2
    scott Says:

    Hey Tim,
    maybe you should re-read the article. Jim is just suggesting we shift the deduction from business to personal, not the government. Either way, The government gives a deduction. It would however, allow for some of the improvements all agree on. In fact if congress wants true reform (and to prove it) they should start by passing the parts of the bill that the industry agreed to last fall, namely, portability, elimination of preexisting conditions, etc. They refuse because to do so would take away their power. The fact is, there is no simple fix after all these years, so we should take it one step at a time. Any time we rush to fix something just to say we did it, there are horrible unforeseen consequences.

  2. 1
    Tim Faris Says:

    Yes, America has a “filet mignon health care system,” but only for those of us who are at upper income levels and can afford filet mignon! Your article points out, without directly mentioning them, the complexity of the issues involving reform, though they ultimately come down to cost.
    Each person has an idea about what can be done, though most always from their own perspective. Anyone who suggests that the solution is “simple” is being very superficial. For example, the portability question and tax credit suggestions would be a “simple” solution for many small businesses as that approach would shift costs away from small business to another entity, in this case the government who, though judged incompetent to administer health care is welcomed to pay for it in large proportion! The suggestions in this article are as superficial and non-inclusive as it would be to say the “simple” solution is for us to divert all expenditures currently devoted to war to health care. Like it or not, government is going to be a huge part of any solution and will create some new problems in solving some older ones. Borderline comments of an inflammatory nature such as calling Congress a “sausage factory” may win choruses of “You tell um Jim” from the choir, but it will not positively further the discussion leading to a resolution.

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