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Health Care...
the Republicans are Doing Something

I have been asked recently by some liberals why the Republicans aren't doing anything about health care. Even many Democrats admit that they "know that Clinton's plan was dreadful." However, the next comment usually made is: (and I quote) "But the only GOP response to the problem of health care was to criticize Clinton. That isn't a response. Why didn't Dole come up with an alternative?"

Republicans are talking - people are just not listening. Here is just an example of some plans that the Republicans put forth that Clinton REJECTED.

One option proposed was the Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs).
This is how it works:
Let's say the health care premium for a family of four is $4200 - the figure in the Clinton plan. Instead of having it a hidden payroll tax, give the employee a choice of how the money will be spent to provide the health care. For example, a family could opt to take $1200 and buy a $2000-deductible catastrophic policy. The remaining $3000 could be put in a tax-free medi-save account, similar to an IRA. Out of that money, the family can pay for customary routine health care costs. Such patient responsibility forces doctor to publish fee schedules, as well as results of treatment. Patients can shop wisely, and would be encouraged to do that since money not spent builds up in the account. This is advantageous to many people because the highest health care costs normally occur in the later years of life. This also discourages frivolous trips to the doctor because "they're free."

Anyway, Republicans tend to believe that MSAs will empower individuals while providing incentives to save for expenses not covered in their health plans. Businesses will be given an opportunity to participate or shift to a system that is more consumer-oriented and puts employees directly in control of their health care purchases. This is what many people want - affordable insurance that they *control* - not the government. I very much resent the government telling me that I do not have the right to use my own $$ for my health coverage!

The MSA account is also owned by the employee, and therefore portable. Individuals can also build savings in their MSA accounts, which in turn helps offset health care costs in case the employee loses their job.

On June 13, 1996 Reps. Bill Archer (R-TX) and Andy Jacobs (D-IN) introduced the Family Medical Savings and Investment Act. The centerpiece of the legislation includes the creation of MSAs. Of course, many Democrats complain that the bill will "cost" taxpayers too much.

However, in actuality, it is as close to revenue neutral as you will get, but with dramatic results for our nation's health care system in terms of making health care more affordable for all Americans. Let me repeat - AFFORDABLE FOR ALL AMERICANS. Isn't that the goal?

Businesses would also benefit from MSAs as administrative costs are reduced. For example, Forbes, Inc., using an MSA plan since 1991, has reduced its insurance premium costs by 27 percent.

Another suggestion put forth by Republicans was to test three models for five years and compare them. One model would be built around the Clinton plan with its National Health Board, and the government run alliances with their councils and committees. The second would be a true HMO package, and the third would be the medi-save and catastrophic accounts model. These are three very different models - one is heavy government, one is patient control, and the other is free market. If these tests were run using people now uninsured (thus not disrupting the 220 million who are currently covered), the result would be instant coverage for all. Then decisions could be based on the information derived at the end of the study - such as costs, jobs lost, inflation, quality, and patient satisfaction - instead of rushing through anything in response to heartstring being tugged. Obviously there would have to be some legislation to include malpractice and tort reform as well as paperwork simplification, but the nice thing about this five-year test is it would result in a test of the efficacy of these reforms.

Too bad Clinton rejected these ideas!

Many also claim that "Well, at least Clinton tried. seem to want to argue one way with one issue and another way with another. If Republican policies increase the number of people who can get health care, why is that bad? Why is spending huge amounts of $$ on "trying" to create a plan which would have created huge new bureaucracies, taken health choices out of the hands of citizens, and paid for it with staggering new taxes on working Americans-- taxes that would have shattered the economy and cost over a million jobs, so much better? The average American family would have faced a massive new tax bill of $3,056 per year to pay for Bill Clinton's plan. (see Remember Clinton's BIG Government Health Care Plan? for more details)

This is the kind of "trying" I can do without!

Clinton's plan would not have helped - it would have just hurt a different group of people. The "at least they did something" attitude is dangerous because it encourages politicians to promote any course of action, however ill-conceived, so they can say they did something.

Do people REALLY think the government of a country the size of the U.S. will be able to run health care effectively?

The liberals have had control for 30+ years - they are the ones that put into place all the systems - the educational system, the judicial system, and the welfare system - they designed them and implemented them. And they are falling apart - why should we trust the same group that has implemented the failed policies we are now faced with?

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