Three Wisconsin Congressmen, Mark Green, Paul Ryan and James Sensenbrenner are co-sponsors of U.S. House Bill 4662 entitled The Health Care Choice Act, which will expand the ability of competitive market forces to bring down the cost of individual health insurance by allowing a National market. This brilliantly simple proposal allows consumers to purchase any individual health insurance plan sold in the United States, regardless of where they live or which State authorized the sale of the policy. The full text of the proposed bill is at the following link.
HR 108-4662 The Health Care Choice Act: To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for cooperative governing of individual health insurance coverage offered in interstate commerce.American healthcare products and services are the best on the planet so America’s problem is not accurately about healthcare availability. The problem is more about how we pay the cost of healthcare. One major factor contributing towards the overall expense is that our system of third party payment insurance pools eliminates many of the competitive market forces keeping most of our other consumer purchases affordable.
This Act is enacted pursuant to the power granted Congress under article I, section 8, clause 3, of the United States Constitution. The application of numerous and significant variations in State law impacts the ability of insurers to offer, and individuals to obtain, affordable individual health insurance coverage, thereby impeding commerce in individual health insurance coverage.
The health insurance industry evolved from risk pooling concepts developed at the end of the 19th century. At that time pooled health risk could be reasonably assessed because there were real limits to the ability of physicians to cure disease. As medical knowledge exploded in the last half of the 20th century, the ability to cure or control individual health became not only possible but expected, and so did the associated expenses. Life Insurance rates are at all time lows because death is a one time payout event, but healthcare is often an open ended ongoing expense and that is the main reason health insurance rates keep going higher.
Opening up the individual health insurance market to all Nationally approved plans will not directly correct the lack of market competition on the underlying pricing of products and services, but it will allow consumers the right to purchase plans that meet their individual needs, and not some mandatory plan design imposed by their State of residence. In other words, it allows consumers to escape the artificial limitations of available State plans and to shop for the best value in a National market. The following article covers the basics and anyone who believes that increasing consumer choice is good for the public should support this legislation.
Cheaper Health Insurance: The idea behind the legislation, sponsored by GOP Representative John Shadegg of Arizona, is disarmingly simple: Allow Americans to buy health insurance from vendors in any one of the 50 states.This is only a small step in gaining control over the cost of healthcare and the votes on this bill will be a good indicator of those who favor market based approaches and individual responsibility, and those who favor government regulation and taxpayer paid benefits.
What's more, states like New Jersey and New York add two more ultra-expensive requirements: "Guaranteed issue" allows people to wait till they are sick and then buy insurance; "community rating" prevents insurers from charging different prices to people of different ages and health status. These may sound like compassionate ideas, until you realize they make insurance so expensive that millions of people are exposed to financial ruin because they aren't allowed to buy basic policies focused on catastrophic costs.
Critics also allege that freeing up interstate commerce will result in a "race to the bottom" in which fly-by-night insurers operating in poorly regulated states would be able to take advantage of consumers. But we've yet to hear which poorly regulated states they're talking about. The best analogy for what to expect here is probably our experience with interstate banking, which has indeed resulted in operators moving to friendly climes like Delaware and South Dakota but which has also proven nothing but a boon to consumers. A national market has allowed the growth of big, financially stable institutions that have earned consumer trust.