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Ron Paul on health reform: shrink government

Ronpaul
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:

  • Increasing
    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.

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8 replies »

  1. The problem is if people don’t shop around for good/cheap doctors and then those doctors/hospitals don’t have to compete and prices won’t be driven down (like with computers).
    Doctors will try collect as much as possible from health insurance. It’s the lack of motivation to control costs at hospitals that make healthcare unaffordable and not the insurance alone.
    We have to drive the prices down for everyone by choosing good/well priced doctors and hospitals with our own money. The bad ones would have to shape up, or find specialties they can do cheaply.

  2. “Ron Paul complains that people don’t take responsibility for their own health. So the government should focus on educating people on how to look after themselves.”
    Why he said this? he doesn’t really know the real problem

  3. “Reform licensure requirements so that pharmacists and nurses can perform some basic functions to increase access to care and lower costs.”
    Wow. This is the is the most intelligent thing I have read in a while.

  4. “Giving doctors the freedom to collectively negotiate with insurance companies and drive down the cost of medical care.”
    This is the most sublimely stupid thing I have read in a while.

  5. Agree, don’t really know while this is newsworthy. It documents 2 things:
    (1) RP is a physician, and this is a typical physician-entrepreneur plan – I have met quite a few doctors with that mindset
    (2) The libertarian credo that government can’t do anything well. This, of course, is in contrast to the fact that government regulated healthcare systems (e.g. France, Germany) are doing much better than the capitalist-corporate system in the US. But of course, that will reverse as soon as there is even more market/competition in the US. Like the melting snowman who will do so much better in spring.

  6. Ron Paul complains that people don’t take responsibility for their own health. So the government should focus on educating people on how to look after themselves.
    Let’s face it — most people simply don’t think about their health until they need a “sticky plaster” of some description. It’s the government’s responsibility to shake people out of their “pill for an ill” mentality. Pills and plasters cannot generate health, only deal with existing problems and symptoms.
    We should be taught the importance of living a healthy lifestyle in school and taught what a healthy lifestyle consists of.
    It’s the best lesson you can ever learn because happiness flows from good health. It would take the strain off the police force, as well as the health care system.
    ~ James
    http://www.habitguide.com

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