Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) has just proposed a health care reform plan. The Dole plan builds on key reform ideas developed by the National Center for Policy Analysis. However, some benefits of the reforms would be diluted by unnecessary insurance regulations that should be dropped from the proposal.
One problem with our health care system is that many sick people who lose their health insurance find it impossible to purchase new coverage. Insurers may classify them as uninsurable, offer them a policy that excludes payment for medical services for their preexisting conditions or set their risk-rated premium so high they cannot afford it.
Relatively simple reforms would go a long way toward solving our most pressing health care problems without creating new ones. Unfortunately, the underlying debate is not about how to solve our health care problems. It's about how our health care system should be organized.
Are employer mandates the best way to pay for health care reform? Virtually all studies of mandates conclude that they kill jobs. Even the Clinton administration agrees.
The new crime bill is now in the hands of a congressional conference committee, which is resolving differences in the House and Senate versions. Despite some beneficial provisions, many are convinced we would be better off without any bill.
A common assumption in the current health care debate is that universal health insurance coverage requires an employer or individual mandate. Either directly or indirectly, these mandates would require individuals to obtain health insurance, whether they want to or not.
In his 1994 State of the Union message, President Clinton said the goal of his health care reform proposal is "to give every … American the same health care security they have already given to … federal employees." The Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) also has been held up as a prototype for reform by Stanford professor Alain Enthoven, father of managed competition. Liberal Senator Edward Kennedy has advocated allowing individuals and small business employees to join the FEHBP. And the program has been praised by a number of conservative Republicans.