• 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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