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Steve Kubby on Health Care

New Solutions to Make Health Care More Affordable for Everybody

Steve Kubby knows that affordable health care -- readily available to all people -- is a priority. Yet, like centralized government schools, the government cannot accomplish this goal well. When President Clinton tried to force his federal health care scheme on all of us, Libertarians took the lead in offering alternatives with Project Healthy Choice.

The only health care reforms that can provide better care at more affordable prices are those that draw on the strength of free markets and fair competition. By focusing on five key goals, Steve Kubby can guarantee Californians the best health care possible.

  1. Californians right to establish medical savings accounts has to be strengthened and expanded. One key to controlling health care costs is strengthening the role of the individual consumer. If you want to see a real look of surprise come onto your doctor's face, try this. Next time he or she tells you that you have to have treatment, ask the cost of each procedure and what it is supposed to do for you. Prices stay down when consumers make individual choices. There's not too much choice left in health care today. You get what government approved doctors tell you the government has approved. Breaking up the health care monopolies created by government will put you back in control. Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) are the first step.

    As part of this process, you would be exempted from taxes on money deposited in your MSA. This would be just like the money people put into Individual Retirement Accounts today. You could take the money you put into your MSA, without a penalty, to pay medical expenses and you wouldn't have to use all of the money in a year or lose it like some politicians advocate. Instead, you can let the money build up in case something serious needs more attention in the future.

    Then we have to deregulate health insurance companies so they can offer people a basic catastrophic coverage at very low premiums. Politicians in Sacramento have put mandates on insurance companies that are so extensive, these companies have to include coverage in basic policies that you or I would never need or want. Yet you and I have to pay for all those extras. By deregulating this part of insurance protection it will help people when some serious medical condition threatens them. In not loading this type of insurance with random, mandated benefits, the cost would go down to a level almost everybody could afford. By letting individuals like you and me pick and choose where we'll spend our own medical dollars, costs will go down.

  2. We have to change tax policy as the next consumer-based reform. Taxes have to be restructured to give people equal treatment between employer-provided health insurance, individually purchased health insurance, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. All health care expenditures should be 100% tax deductible. This will add an important measure of fairness to corrupt policies now that penalize self-employed people, part time workers, and employees of small businesses. Today's policies subsidize giant corporations at the expense of the little guys.

  3. We also have to deregulate the health care industry. In many cases, government policies are responsible for rising health costs and unavailability of health care services. California can take major steps to deregulate the health care industry by changing laws to eliminate mandated benefits, repealing Certificate-of-Need programs, and allowing the expansion of the scope of practice for non-physician health professionals, like nurse midwives, chiropractors, and nutritionists.

  4. Steve Kubby will work hard to persuade our Congressional delegation to replace the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration is an unnecessary burden on the American health care system. There is no evidence that agency offers you or me any real protection. On the other hand there is massive evidence that the FDA causes great harm, driving up health care costs and depriving millions of Americans of the medical care they need. Abolishing that agency and replacing it with voluntary certification by private sector organizations would help Californians immediately.

    How would such a private agency work? Well, it's not just a good idea, but one that already has a good working model.

    Many years ago, shortly after the light bulb was invented, everybody wanted their home wired for electricity. In those early days of electric power, insurance companies found themselves paying for more house fires than they could imagine. They discovered poor wiring was the culprit. To cut their losses while saving many homes from fire, they established Underwriters Laboratories. You can see the UL label on many home appliances you buy. The rule became that if you wanted fire insurance, you made sure that you installed wiring that was UL approved.

    A similar group should be organized to provide standards for new medical procedures and drugs. At no time should the government be able to deny a patient's choice of health care. That's a private matter between the patient and health care provider. Likewise, no government agency should force medical providers to perform procedures which they don't believe are good, medically or ethically.

  5. Finally, we have to move to privatize Medicare and Medicaid. Again, you and I will have to turn to Washington to do this, yet California can take the lead with waivers to start innovative programs to replace these two programs that cost too much and give patients second-rate health care.
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