If elected president, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, promises to shrink the government’s role in health care. Government intervention, he says, is the cause of today’s high costs, inefficiencies and lack of personal responsibility.
“We can hardly expect more government to cure our current health care woes,” says the Texas OB-GYN’s Web site. “As with all goods and services, medical care is best delivered by the free market, with competition and financial incentives keeping costs down.”
Here’s the outline of Paul’s health reform plan:
- Making all medical expenses tax deductible.
- Eliminating federal regulations that discourage small businesses from providing coverage.
- Giving doctors the freedom to collectively negotiate with insurance companies and drive down the cost of medical care.
- Making every American eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA), and removing the requirement that individuals must obtain a high-deductible insurance policy before opening an HSA.
- Reform licensure requirements so that pharmacists and nurses can perform some basic functions to increase access to care and lower costs.
- By removing federal regulations, encouraging competition, and presenting real choices, we can make our health care system the envy of the world once again.
Paul’s Web site lacks more specifics. What he would do with Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program is not detailed on his site. Though, he did vote against the proposed SCHIP expansion last winter. While he has railed against Medicare’s inefficiencies and handouts to corporations, he hasn’t suggested dismantling the health plan for American seniors.
"We have corporate medicine, and I don’t think it’s a good system at all," Paul told the Kaiser Network in this podcast.
In 2007, Paul introduced the Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act, which so far has gone nowhere. The Act proposes to amend the tax code by:
tax credits for the health insurance costs and expanding eligibility
for such credits for taxpayers and their spouses and dependents.
- Permitting up to $500 of unused health benefits under a health
flexible spending arrangement to be carried over to a succeeding plan
year or paid directly to an employee as compensation.
- Eliminate the high deductible health plan requirement for health savings account eligibility.
- Repealing the 7.5 percent maximum on the tax deduction of medical and dental expenses.