Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Patients First" Health Care Plan, Part Two

Earlier we mentioned the Wisconsin Republican health-care plan. The synopsis linked on that post, however, did not mention these features:

Health Premium Accounts. "Patients First" would establish in law tax-free "Health Premium Accounts" which could be utilized by employees who work more than one part-time job. These accounts would allow the employee to pool dollars from various employers to purchase health insurance.

A very interesting concept. This would allow employers of part-time people to contribute a proportionate amount towards healthcare, which could then be utilized by the employee to purchase insurance--all tax-free. (One hopes that Rep. Ryan sees this; Federalizing this concept could be very helpful.)

Health Courts. "Patients First" also would create a pilot program for Health Courts which would streamline the medical malpractice system by giving injured patients quicker access to justice while at the same time building a strong body of precedent that will help medical providers focus on delivering high quality medical care instead of practicing costly "defensive medicine" due to constant fears of lawsuits.

Likely to be somewhat controversial, but if "defensive medicine" can be minimized, the cost of care will drop, period. And even if it's only 10%, that's over $1400/year for a family plan.

Let's hope that the Democrats are willing to debate the proposals.


Karen Marie said...

the "health court" sounds like a good idea, as long as it is actually about repairing injury and doing justice about malpractice, and not just about getting rid of troublesome injured patients cheaply.

the "premium accounts", however, are a trap --- forcing workers who are putting together a living from multiple part-time jobs out of the risk-spreading group health insurance system into the highly restrictive, difficult to qualify for, and insanely expensive individual insurance market, if they can get insurance at all.

Anonymous said...

The numbers are actually 1-2%. (CBO) If you are interested, I can dig up the source, but I do agree that health courts would be a good idea.

Dad29 said...

Obviously, Karen, the accounts are a beginning.

They are also an improvement from the current situation. I'd rather see this Federalized (the tax impact is MUCH bigger), but ...

Compared to the current situation, it's better. Not perfect. Better.