The Washington Post published an op-ed yesterday written by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Read it; it’s a good one.
Jindal believes that Republicans have to join the “battle of ideas” about health care reform. Reform, he says, is necessary.
He first gets a dig in at Democrats:
The debate on health care has moved on. Democratic plans for a government takeover are passé. The people don’t want it. Believe the polls, the town halls, the voters. Only Democrats in Washington would propose new taxes on businesses and families in the middle of a recession, $900 billion in new spending at a time of record deficits, and increased taxes on health insurance and products to reduce health-care costs.
Washington is the only place in the country that doesn’t realize that this debate is over. Democrats may march forward anyway, but they will do so without the people, and at their own peril.
Yet hope for meaningful reform need not be lost. Only two things need to happen. First, Democrats have to give up on their grand experiment and get serious about bipartisan solutions. Second, Republicans have to join the battle of ideas.
Republicans in Congress, he continues, did well to oppose ObamaCare as strongly as they did. But now it’s time for them to “shift gears”:
Conservatives should seize the mantle of reform and lead. Conservatives either genuinely believe that conservative principles will work to solve real-world problems such as health care or they don’t. I believe they will.
Next, Jindal offers ten ideas to increase the affordability and quality of health care. Among them are:
– Voluntary purchasing pools: Give individuals and small businesses the opportunities that large businesses and the government have to seek lower insurance costs.
– Portability: As people change jobs or move across state lines, they change insurance plans. By allowing consumers to “own” their policies, insurers would have incentive to make more investments in prevention and in managing chronic conditions.
– Require coverage of preexisting conditions: Insurance should not be least accessible when it is needed most. Companies should be incentivized to focus on delivering high-quality effective care, not to avoid covering the sick.
– Transparency and payment reform: Consumers have more information when choosing a car or restaurant than when selecting a health-care provider. Provider quality and cost should be plainly available to consumers, and payment systems should be based on outcomes, not volume. Today’s system results in wide variations in treatment instead of the consistent application of best practices. We must reward efficiency and quality.
– Reward healthy lifestyle choices: Providing premium rebates and other incentives to people who make healthy choices or participate in management of their chronic diseases has been shown to reduce costs and improve health.
– Refundable tax credits (for the uninsured and those who would benefit from greater flexibility of coverage): Redirecting some of the billions already spent on the uninsured will help make non-emergency care outside the emergency room affordable for millions and will provide choices of coverage through the private market rather than forcing people into a government-run system. We should trust American families to make choices for themselves while we ensure they have access to quality, affordable health care.
Unlike the Democrats’ plan, Jindal’s ideas will actually improve the quality of health care insurance in the States.
Good thinking of Jindal; his party has to join the market place of ideas. It has to lead on this issue – it has to show Americans it can do more than point out the rather obvious flaws in Democrats’ plans.
More of this please.