A Conservative Health Care Plan

by Sal on October 8, 2009

in Economy,Politics

Getting Conservatives elected in 2010 and beyond will depend not only on stopping the Democrat policies, but on presenting our own conservative alternatives.  At some point, Conservatives will have to stop punting and start doing something on health care.  The rising cost of health care is becoming an increasing problem in this country, both for personal affordability and for businesses.  The cause of this rise is mainly due to bad government policy, which the Democrats are simply compounding with ObamaCare.  In the end, Conservatives will have to deal with this issue, whether because the Democrats fail in enacting their policy and costs continue to skyrocket, or because the Democrats pass their policy and effectively blow up our health care system.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what Conservatives can do to and propose to fix health care.

I am by no means a policy expert, and have no idea of the actual practical costs of these ideas.  I leave such musings and technical details to others.  Some of my ideas are based on things that are already out there, and a few are original.  I’m not claiming that all of these are good ideas or practical, but they form a starting point to what could be a good, Conservative health care plan that will be in-line with our Constitution and not add more government interference. So, without further ado, the Sal Health Care Plan.

Tort Reform

The no-brainer of the proposal, and on every Conservative’s wish-list.  Tort reform is important both because of the astronomical costs of malpractice insurance imposed on doctors, as well as the excessive CYA mode that doctors are forced into when ordering tests and procedures.  Just this reform alone would reduce the costs of health care.

Increased Insurance Competition

The federal government has the power under the constitution to regulate interstate commerce as well as enforce the full-faith and credit clause (correct me if I am wrong, those of you who are legal scholars).  The government could effectively use those clauses to prohibit states from barring the purchasing of insurance plans across state lines.  This would give consumers a lot more choice in insurance plans, and the increased competition among insurance providers would result in the lowering of costs, as any deregulation from the past 30 years will show. 

Convert Medicare from reimbursement to Medicare Advantage-type plan

Medicare is not going anywhere, yet it is one of the biggest causes of high health care costs.  The reason for this is because the government sets the rates, and the rates do not necessarily cover the costs.  Because of this, doctors and hospitals are forced to push the health care costs off on non-medicare patients.  Since Medicare is not going anywhere, Conservatives need to find a way to fix it.  The best way to do this is to move medicare to an individual choice program, modeled after Medicare Advantage.  Medicare Advantage (which Democrats now want to cut) was introduced by the Republicans in the late 90s, to give the elderly a choice in their health plans.  Instead of the government paying doctors directly, the government pays participating plans that the recipient is allowed to choose from.  The plan has been wildly successful, being opted by 25% of current medicare recipients in only ten years of existence.  The entirety of medicare should be modified to this approach, and opened up even further by giving seniors tax-free grants (vouchers) to use on the health care needs of their choice.  Like a medical savings account, the grants could be used on a health insurance plan, prescription drugs, or simply by paying a doctor directly.  The seniors should also be allowed to contribute tax free to their interest-bearing medical savings account if they want any extra funds.

Tax Credits for First Party Payers

One of the biggest issues that the health care industry has in the rising of costs is the fact that we have a third-party insurance system.  Conservative commentators and economists have lamented this fact, and see it as a major cause for the escalating costs and the high cost of insurance.  Yet there doesn’t seem to be any easy way to move the country back to first-person payer with  deductible low-cost catastrophic insurance plans.  Such a move would take years and probably be wildly unpopular if pushed on the population in any invasive way.  One way to try to move the industry in that direction would be the introduction of tax credits to first-party payers.  The government could offer tax credits both to the doctor and the patient for any health care transaction that was made directly between the two parties.  By providing this incentive, it may cause Doctors to lower rates for first party payers (incentive for the tax credit and not having to deal with the insurance company).  This proposal could help move the industry into a more sustainable direction over time.


I’ve touched on a few things that I think could make the health care system better.  I am sure that there are many more ideas out there that have merit.  In any case, the rising cost of health care needs to be addressed by Conservatives, using market-based solutions that empower the individual to make their own choices.  Failure to address the issue will lead to further Democrat attempts to move us towards single-payer socialized medicine, and will also harm the long-term global economic prospects of this country.  It’s time for Republicans to stand up and push a plan for serious reform in opposition to ObamaCare.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Martin October 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm
norris hall October 9, 2009 at 5:32 am

The reason why none of your ideas is going to get anything more than a “here’s some great ideas” is because Republicans really like the broken health care system we have. They’ve loved it for 40 years. In fact health reform is a “Democrat” issue.
Republicans have just been playing defense on the matter for the last 3 decades.

When was the last time you had a Republican president say

1. I’m going to make it my goal to make sure every American can afford health insurance
2. I’m going to to stop insurance companies from denying insurance for sick people
3. I’m going to bring down the cost of medical care.



Scott Martin October 9, 2009 at 2:08 pm

If a Republican ever said any of those things, I would do everything in my power to get his ass kicked out of the party. Not a single one of those three things even remotely resembles the Constitutional role of government.

1. Why not make sure every American can afford a Mercedes while you’re at it? Makes as much sense and is just as possible. Just as socialist.

2. I’m going to stop businesses from making free decisions on who they choose to do business with. OK, so we see guaranteeing freedom is not very high on your list of things the government is supposed to do.

3. I’m going to interfere in the free market process, and the freedom business and consumers have over how they choose to do business. Same as number two.

You’re right. Never. We don’t have authoritarians in the Republican party.


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