Two ways of looking at alternative health care reforms

To: Atlanta Journal & Constitution Editors

Re: Jay Bookman’s “Testing GOP’s Plan

There are at least two types of attitudes for solving problems. First, “No, because…” lists why something can’t be done. This shuts down creative thought, because the premise is that the concept is too flawed to fix. Then, there is the “Yes, if…” approach that identifies concerns and seeks input of creative ideas and consensus solutions. Here are contrasting examples using Mr. Bookman’s analysis of the GOP Plan:

1.) Allow the sale of health insurance across state lines.

“No, because…” Bookman: “The market has given us its answer, and the answer is no. And there’s just not enough money in it to justify the hassle.”

“Yes, if…” GPPF: Yes, if we can use the internet to market insurance like any other product on If we can get state insurance laws unified with standards that protect buyers, promote transparency and health literacy, improve access to care and encourage price competition.

2.) Dramatically limit medical malpractice suits.

“No, because…” Bookman: “There is no evidence that malpractice reform makes health care more accessible or affordable.

“Yes, if…” GPPF: Yes, if we can protect a patient’s right to sue for egregious medical malpractice while compensating those who currently do not have access to justice.

3.) Replace Obamacare’s coverage for those with pre-existing conditions by putting them in high-risk insurance pools, with government offering subsidies to bring down costs to consumers.

“No, because…” Bookman: “Did [previous high-risk pools] work? No. …high-risk pools are too expensive to fund at the federal level.”

“Yes, if…” GPPF: Yes, if a federal high-risk pool had different plan designs that included rewards and incentives for health care consumerism. That is, choosing cost-effective providers, supported compliance with physician treatment plans and taking more personal responsibility for health and health care decisions.

4.) Replace Obamacare subsidies with refundable tax credits.

“No, because…” Bookman: “…congressional Republicans would still have to OK tens of billions of dollars a year in health insurance subsidies, and they simply will not do so.

“Yes, if…” GPPF: Yes, if we set a standard tax credit for citizens to purchase policies that meet their individual needs at a level to support a comprehensive major medical insurance policy.

Mr. Bookman’s summary shows problem solving approach he takes: “That’s why (Representative Tom) Price’s plan has gone nowhere in the six years since he introduced it, and why it is going nowhere still.”

In contrast, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is committed to non-partisan solutions that solve real problems for real people using creative thinking, American ingenuity and consensus building approaches.

Ron Bachman, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

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