Heritage Foundation on Health Care



Providing basics ok; telling people what to buy is not ok

The debate about health care in America unfortunately obscures some important areas of agreement. Polls show clearly that most Americans believe that every lawful resident should be able to count on some basic level of health care. And that those of us able to assist others have an obligation to do so. But we differ on the role of government in determining the level of that obligation and in shaping the system.

If we must make sure that someone has enough resources to afford a basic level of health care, then I agree government has a financial role. But beyond assuring that the basics are affordable, I find it hard to accept that government should tell me, my doctor, and my insurer exactly what benefits should be in my health plan--and what I must pay for.

This is not just a matter of freedom & constitutional principle. Once the government requires us to have specific benefits, lobbyists will move heaven and earth to make sure their clients' services and procedures get added to the must-buy list

Source: Stuart Butler on 2013 campaign website heritage.org , Mar 25, 2013

Replace mandates; let consumers decide on coverage

There's an alternative to government mandates. If someone receives money to help buy health care (including Medicaid or Medicare), taxpayers can reasonably insist that the money is used for real health care (not hot tubs or hair transplants) and true insurance (such as emergency-room coverage). Beyond that, the consumer--not the government--should be free to decide what package of coverage they buy.

It's preposterous to think that Congress could write one bill and suddenly manage an enterprise that constitutes fully one-sixth of the nation's economy. No wonder the administration is having such problems figuring out how to implement ObamaCare. They've already had to jettison an entire important section of the legislation, dealing with long-term care, because it was totally unworkable.

Figuring out the most efficient way to provide a service, according to the needs and preferences of individuals, is something the private sector does very well and the government does really poorly.

Source: Stuart Butler on 2013 campaign website heritage.org , Mar 25, 2013

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Page last updated: Sep 24, 2016