Senator Tom Coburn’s Healthcare Reform Plan

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has introduced major healthcare reform legislation into the U.S. Senate. Kimberley Strassel had a short summary of the proposal in last week’s OpinionJournal

[Senator Coburn’s proposal] would remove the subsidy corporations get for health care, and instead give the money to individuals–putting them in charge of their health expenditures. It would expand HSAs, and allow consumers to buy insurance from any state, thereby avoiding costly regulations. It would modernize Medicare, allowing workers to invest their payroll taxes into a savings account and control their care in their retirement years. It would free up the states to inject Medicaid with new flexibility and competition.
Senator Coburn’s website has a more detailed summary
Promoting prevention: The legislation will reform our rudderless and wasteful federal prevention programs and demand results and accountability. Five preventable chronic diseases – heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes – cause two-thirds of American deaths. Seventy five percent of total health expenditures are spent to treat these largely preventable chronic diseases. A sound prevention strategy will save countless lives and billions of dollars.
MediChoice tax rebates that will shift tax breaks away from businesses to individuals: Giving Americans a rebate check ($2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for families) to buy their own insurance will foster competition, improve quality and drive down prices. This provision will help put individuals back in charge of the health care, and help restore the doctor-patient relationship that has been severed by third-party government and health insurance bureaucrats.
Creation of a national market for health insurance: The bill would give Americans the right to shop for health insurance anywhere in America. Patients should not be forced to be pay for outrageously expensive health plans in states like New Jersey when they can save thousands by buying plans from companies in other states.
Creating transparency of health care costs and services: This Act requires hospitals and providers receiving reimbursements from Medicare to disclose their estimated and actual charges for all patients as well as the rates they are reimbursed through Medicare and Medicaid. This provision could allow patients to “Google” their doctor and comparison-shop for health care the way that they do for cars, computers, or other products and services.
Securing Medicare’s future by increasing choice and encouraging savings: The bill retains existing benefits but encourages true competition among private plans to hold down costs, a model already is working in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit. The plan would give Medicare recipients similar health care options available to Members of Congress and employees of Fortune 500 companies.
Keeping Medicaid on mission: The bill liberates the poor from substandard government care and offers states the option to provide their Medicaid beneficiaries the kind of health care coverage that wealthier Americans enjoy. The bill creates incentives for states to achieve private universal coverage for their population. The bill offers states the freedom to design the programs that serve their beneficiaries with the best care instead of the current, one-size-fits-all straitjacket.

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mrh
mrh
14 years ago

a model already is working in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit
You guys are hilarious!

mrh
mrh
14 years ago

OK, I’ve guilted myself into leaving a more substantive comment. The Medicare prescription drug benefit is a more-or-less universally reviled and regarded as a failure. Evoking that particular program as part of the pitch for a new one seems like, perhaps, not the wisest decision.
I’m also curious about this line from the last bullet point:
liberates the poor from substandard government care
What is this referring to?

Michael Morse
14 years ago

Personal responsibility?
“Five preventable chronic diseases – heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes – cause two-thirds of American deaths. Seventy five percent of total health expenditures are spent to treat these largely preventable chronic diseases.”
I am a Rescue Lieutenant in Providence. People with the above mentioned diseases use the 911 system for routine transport to local emergency rooms. Some are obese, others leave their smoking cigarette in the ashtray as we wheel them out of their homes. Personal responsibility is a lost concept in my “hood.” Many don’t understand English. When I ask them for ID I am given what we callously refer to as the “Key to the Kingdom,” the RIteCare card. In bold print on front of the card reads, Emergencr Room Co-pay-0, Doctors Office Co-pay-0, Prescription Co-pay-0. I have yet to give up hope, but it is frustrating. I still don’t blame the immigrants, illegal or other. Our government is at fault, the desperately poor people are using our system for survival and we are giving it away . We need to say No.

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