Anyone know what the Republicans are doing on this, other than chanting “Me too, Me too, Me too”?
A whole lot of people would respond to the option of being able to carry catastrophic-only medical insurance, and paying for routine visits out of pocket. In a majority of states, you are not allowed to do that. You must be insured to a standard that includes things like covering sex-change operations and mental health treatment. In other words, you must be enrolled in a “health plan,” and not just carry “insurance.” It would cost a LOT less for people to carry just “insurance.” E.g., break your leg, get in an accident, get diagnosed with cancer — insurance pays fees. Go in for routine visits, need allergy medicine — patient pays fees.
Enlarging the tax advantage for health savings accounts; allowing the savers to bequeath them tax-free to legatees, for the purpose of health savings; and tax advantaging private gifts to cover the health costs of others would all be popular measures as well.
There are a number of other measures we need, such as states capping litigation awards (and, ideally, instituting a “loser pays” system). Their effect on health care costs would be substantial, but harder to build a popular wave of support for.
One thing Republicans need to be hammering is the fact that focusing on the “uninsured” has to end up dragooning a lot of more lightly-insured or uninsured young people as PAYERS, into a system they will statistically have less use for than their elders for some time. Naturally, universal health care advocates never say this out loud, but we can be sure it has not escaped them that many of the “uninsured” are people under 30-35 who do not choose to carry insurance. They can’t be brought into the system without being made to PAY into it. The prospect of that influx of cash is far more significant than you’d think, from the complete silence about it maintained among universal coverage advocates.