Originally Answered: How does the GOP plan to reduce the price of premiums in their health care plan?
Several years ago, Auto Insurance was almost impossible to get in the state of New Jersey - there were very few companies selling the insurance here because of strict state regulations. Then, in 2003, the regulations were lifted and low-cost competitors began doing business in the state. Today, there is very healthy competition among these companies, and rather than offering poor or limited coverage because of under-regulation, these companies are competing with better coverage, better service and lower premiums. For example, I have Geico insurance, which gives me a break on my premium because I am college educated and have a good credit rating. Some people think this is unfair, but these people can get an equally inexpensive policy based on other factors - age, for example, or driving record. It's a wide open market.
There is no reason to believe this cannot happen with health insurance. People are afraid that, by eliminating state regulations, insurers will feel free to offer less coverage, bad coverage - they do not believe in competition and think that only Government Regulation will keep these companies in line. Many of us believe that this increased competition will spur the insurers to INCREASE the quality and service, and DECREASE the premiums, so they can compete in the marketplace.
There are other ideas in addition to the state regulations and the tort reform Right now the insurance market is backward - giving tax breaks to corporations who offer health insurance to individiuals, but those who have to purchase insurance on their own are taxed heavily. This is unfair and it is skewed. The tax breaks should go to the individuals, and will, under the Republican plan.
Republicans also propose offering "Health Savings Accounts" to people who work for companies who can sponsor them. Like a 401-K or a 521 College Plan, this allows an employee to set aside TAX-FREE dollars (that can be matched by the company) into an account which, if used for healthcare expenses, remains tax free. As these accounts grow to $5,000 or $10,000 over the years, employees can then change their insurance to lower-cost, higher deductible plans otherwise known as "catastrophic" plans.
This will accomplish a few things - most importantly placing a direct connection between the consumer and the doctor. Doctors charge what they do now for a few reasons - one is because, like mechanics, they are told what is "reasonable and customary" for specific procedures; another is because they have to practice "defensive medicine" to build a file showing they did everything that a lawyer can think of if they get sued, but a major thing is that the consumers have no connection to the actual fees. If you know how much your doctor is charging and you are spending your own money from your health-savings account, a doctor will be willing to work with you on that amount.
All of these proposals have two HUGE benefits over the Democrat plan. The first is they can be implemented right away, at almost no cost to the taxpayer (The Democrat plan will begin taxing us immediately, but most of the provisions will not take effect until 2012). The second is that the proposals are simple,elegant and do not involve trillions of dollars and increased bureaucracy. We could conceivably implement every one of them before the end of the year, and if they don't work, well, we wouldn't have to undo too terribly much.
In my opinion, the major weakness in the Democratic plan is that there is way, way too much government involvement. The government has never been able to run a bureaucracy of this size efficiently - Medicare is bankrupt and riddled with corruption, Social Security is bankrupt and riddled with corruption, the VA health plan is riddled with red-tape and bureaucracy, the Post Office is bankrupt - the list goes on and on.
Just look at the way they are infighting about this bill - the bribery, the strong-arm tactics,the "Chicago Way" - and then project that into the future - these are the same people who will be running the show if this bill passes. They have yet to show me that they are even remotely capable.