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health care reform


Hello.  Back from Scandinavia.  Norway is incredible.  It shows you what you can achieve with a very small population, no enemies, no significant historical baggage, great natural resources (oil, fishing), a climate so cold that no one wants to move there, and a population where everyone seems to function at a high level, educated, good work ethic, decent governance (yes i know they are taxed out of their gourds and everything's expensive but they seem to get what they pay for), fairly uniform culturally, linguistically, and otherwise, and therefore without a lot of strife and conflict.  You get, in a word, paradise.  Or at least it seemed that way to me.  A beautiful country without any obvious problems i could detect or that were immediately apparent.

Since i was gone we have had the unleashing of Hillary's new health care plan replete with a large govt role, higher taxes on the "rich," individual mandates (everyone must own insurance - unknown how it would be enforced) and insurance mandates (no one can be turned away - which means high costs for everyone - there are no free lunches).  Employers must pay or play.  It will be costly, it will be unpaid for, will drive yet further deficit spending, will expand government, and increase sense of entitlement and dependency.  All things Democrats like.

On the other hand, it is actually an improvement over Hillarycare from 92-93.  She has learned some lessons.  She will proceed more cautiously.  She will not alienate as many as before.  And, she is therefore more dangerous. 

She gives a believable and acceptable presentation.  She is not to be underestimated.  She is bright, voluble, and clever.  She is a worthy opponent.  She also has her husband coaching her and eight years experience as co president.

The other top tier democratic candidates all have various plans of their own.

Republicans, and particularly Guliani, had better be ready with their own detailed plans for health care reform, with an eye to resolving, using free market methods, the primary health care problems confronting the country: the uninsured, cost, and portability. 

The free market solutions are out there.  They include: a big tax deduction for anyone owning their own private insurance, a great incentive to buy your own, just as the mortgage interest deduction is an incentive to buy your own home.  It will also make it more affordable and even the playing field with those who have employer based insurance.

Health savings accounts.  Individuals can save money tax free for future health needs.  They can then purchase lower cost insurance that is there for major problems but does not necessarily cover every minor contingency in the same way that home insurance pays for fire or arson but does not cover paint jobs.  In other words, stop the first dollar coverage business, and get everyone shopping around carefully since the first five grand or so is the consumer's.  Next: Insurance deregulation, so individuals and employers can purchase the cheapest available plans across state lines.  This will increase competition and lower costs. 

Insurance markets by state, region, and even nationally, that will by its volume give individuals greater bargaining power with insurance companies.  Federal subsidies for those too poor buy their own insurance and earning too much to recieve medicaid - so they can buy their own private insurance.  Free market incentives (tax breaks?) for insurance companies that cover everyone and not just the healthy.  Extensions of Cobra.  Litigation reform, so people don't have to travel to other states for ob gyn, neuro surg, or emergency care.  Greater transparency of costs for procedures and medicine. 

By preserving and expanding the free market in health care reform, we can maintain the dynamism, innovation, and flexibility of our system while addressing the outstanding problems. 

Guliani and others had better be prepared with detailed plans or face the voters' wrath.



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