JLF Triangle Blog

Hey, It’s Free, So Why Not?

Here’s another clear sign that facts and data matter less and less in policy debates.

Voters are now almost evenly divided over the establishment of a single-payer health care system under which the federal government provides coverage for everyone.

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters favor a single-payer system, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Forty-four percent (44%) oppose the creation of such a system. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.

 

Well, so how is single payer working out?

A 2011 report by the Fraser Institute concluded that Canada’s health care system is spending at an unsustainable rate. Six of ten Canadian provinces are on track to spend half of their revenues on health care, according to the institute.

“We conclude that Canada’s health system produces rates of growth in health spending that are not sustainable solely through redistributive public financing,” the report concluded.

D’oh! Obamacare is bad enough. Let’s not make things even worse. What do we face, and what should we do?

Key Facts

  • 2011 estimates indicate PPACA will add 15 million people to Medicaid rosters across the country, and 500,000 in North Carolina.
  • Candidate Obama promised that health care premiums would go down by $2,500 by the end of the first year.
  • President Obama now acknowledges that insurance premiums will rise 10-13 percent on average by 2016, and 17 percent for young healthy individuals.
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers has projected that health care spending for 2013 will increase by 7.5 percent, more than three times the projected rates for inflation and economic growth.

Recommendations

  1. Allow free enterprise to thrive. State restrictions, especially those mandated by the federal government, on health insurance and care provisions mean patients will see alternatives leave the marketplace, potentially driving up costs. Some changes the state should make are:
    • Allow individuals and businesses to purchase insurance from other states,
    • Reduce mandated benefits for insurance companies,
    • Ease restrictive licensing burdens on medical professionals, and
    • Repeal Certificate of Need.
  2. Opt out of participating in PPACA’s expansion of Medicaid.
  3. Use block grants, managed care, and financial incentives to help control Medicaid costs. North Carolina’s Medicaid program is expensive and poorly structured. Providers and patients have few incentives to deliver care efficiently, and there is insufficient attention paid to detecting and ending Medicaid fraud.
  4. Wait to implement Insurance Exchanges. Given the unreasonable time frame for setting up state-level exchanges and how many unknowns that still are associated with PPACA, the state should not rush forward to implement an expensive program it may not need.

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