Put Patients and Doctors Back in Control of Healthcare

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Most
everyone agrees that health care in the United States has major
problems, the biggest problems relating to skyrocketing costs. No
one doubts the system is in need of reform. However, too many in
Washington see tighter government controls as the solution. In fact,
the problems are rooted in past government controls that created
more problems than they solved.

Ironically,
laws and policies in the 1970′s promoting Health Maintenance
Organizations (HMOs) resulted from desperate attempts to control
spiraling costs. However, instead of promoting an efficient health
care system, HMOs took far too much control away from patients and
physicians and gave it to the insurers. This excessive reliance
on third-party payers instead removed incentives for insured patients
to economize on health care costs, and allowed the problem to snowball.
Furthermore, the third-party payer system created a two-tier health
care system where people whose employers could afford to offer “Cadillac”
plans have access to top quality health care, while others face
financial obstacles in obtaining quality health care.

For these and
other reasons, I introduced the Private Option Health Care Act last
week. This bill places individuals back in control of health care
by replacing the recently passed tax-spend-and-regulate health care
law with reforms designed to restore a free market health care system.

First, the
bill would provide all Americans with a tax credit for 100 percent
of health care expenses. This tax credit is fully refundable against
both income and payroll taxes. It would also allow individuals to
roll over unused amounts in cafeteria plans and Flexible Savings
Accounts (FSAs). Next, it would provide a tax credit for premiums
for high-deductible insurance policies connected with a Health Savings
Account (HSAs) and allow seniors to use funds in HSAs to pay for
medigap policies. In addition, it would repeal the 7.5 percent threshold
for the deduction of medical expenses, and thus would make all medical
expenses tax deductible.

This bill would
also create a competitive market in health insurance by exercising
Congress’s Constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause
to allow individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines.
Ending these state-imposed bans would create a competitive national
marketplace in health insurance.

The Private
Option Health Care Act would also ensure that people harmed during
medical treatment receive fair compensation while simultaneously
reducing the burden of costly malpractice litigation on the health
care system. The bill achieves this by providing a tax credit for
negative outcomes insurance purchased before medical treatment.
This type of insurance would provide compensation for any negative
outcomes without having to go through lengthy litigation or giving
huge sums to trial lawyers.

Finally, the
Private Option Health Care Act would lower the prices of prescription
drugs by reducing barriers to the importation of Food and Drug Administration
(FDA)-approved pharmaceuticals. Under my bill, anyone wishing to
import a drug simply submits an application to the FDA, which then
must approve it unless it is either not approved for use in the
United States or is adulterated or misbranded.

The Private
Option Health Care Act allows Congress to correct the mistake it
made last month by replacing the new health care law with health
care measures that give control to individuals, instead of the federal
government and corporations. Our health is too vital to allow for
the typical results of government interference and “fixes.”

See
the Ron Paul File

June
3, 2010

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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