Jason over at Poligazette sends over a worthwhile post about the ins and outs of the health care “non-debate” and identifies 4 key points that he feels are potentially consensus building.
- Serious fees imposed on employers that drop health coverage to dump employees on to the government plan. These fees would have to be sufficient to make up the cost to the government of the new additions.
- New budgeting procedures that ensure providers have incentive to account for future as well as current demand in research as well as equipment investment.
- Tort reform to relieve doctors of fear about being sued for failing to do every test available.
- Market-based mechanisms like co-operatives that could pool some of the 47 million uninsured without dropping them directly onto an already overstretched government program.
To my knowledge, some Dems have proposed #1 and #4, but not #2 and #3. Repubs have definitely proposed #3, but I’m not sure anybody has proposed #2.
Obviously tort reform (#3) is especially contentious in Dem circles given their allegiances with trial attorneys, but if we’re going to set specific guidelines for medical costs, having some limits on damages people can receive on botched medical procedures makes sense too.
However, do you really think Republicans would ever accept fees for employers who dump their coverage (#1)? I have serious doubts about that because it would be quickly positioned as “anti-business,” even though it’s designed to prop up private insurance.
Last, I think #2 hasn’t been brought up because health care is still a lucrative industry (despite all the misinfo) and there aren’t any good reasons to stop research and development. Remember, we’re not talking about single payer, government run health care here. Obama and the Dems simply want to get everybody in the system and increase competition so costs can be controlled. And this could be accomplished by #4.
In any event, what do you think? Could both sides agree on these? Could these 4 simple things really keep costs under control?