There is a huge consensus among economists, including prominent economists within the Obama Administration, on the need to reform the current tax treatment of health insurance.
This would replace the existing system of $300 billion in tax breaks with a universal system of tax credits. Families by default would receive $5,700 and individuals would receive $2,300. Low-income families would get additional benefits.
This would encourage bold liberal and conservative health policy experiment in the states. Similar bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the senate. Congress and the White house have proposed new federal mandates that need employers or individuals to buy government health insurance or pay tax.
This would create new pooling mechanisms the allow group insurance to be offered by individual members and by employers. This would help citizens to get health insurance from churches, alumni and trade association and other civic groups.
This would require the federal government to work with states. Under this exchange the plans would meet the same standards as members of congress and federal employees. The act would allow the pooling between exchanges of different states.
The key feature of the massive house and Senate health bills is that they centralize key decision-making in Washington. These bills would restrict citizens’ freedom due to fines and taxes.
The Patients Choice Act, the improving Health Care for All Americans Act, and the Empower Patients First Act are viable alternatives to the top-down approach. As the President indicated, there is no partisan monopoly on good ideas in health care