Is affordable medical insurance possible in the United States?
While many ideas are being shared and argued over in the name of health care reform, it can be next to impossible for the average person to know what the best options for affordable medical insurance coverage are. One idea is to create a publicly funded insurance pool to help provide low cost medical insurance to the uninsured. Other people are in favor of the opposite approach – market based policies.
What are Market-Based Policies?
Market-based family medical insurance policies look to the private sector for health insurance coverage rather than the government. Supporters of market-based policies believe they are the only way to give the consumer control and choice, as well as fostering competition to keep costs down and quality high.
Why are Market-Based Policies Better than Publicly Funded Health Care Policies?
Market-based policies are more cost effective for the government – and therefore the taxpayers- than publicly funded healthcare. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, January 2005, if every uninsured individual was covered by a government program such as Medicaid, the cost to the federal and state governments is approximately $2000 each. If, however, low-income and modest-income Americans could purchase their own health insurance by utilizing a $1000 tax credit, the federal government would save 50% of that money. With over 45 million uninsured Americans, that savings would be substantial indeed.
Market-based insurance would not only be more affordable major medical insurance coverage, it would also provide consumers with more choice. Because savings come from a tax credit, the option to choose insurance companies, policies and doctors is left to the person who purchases the insurance, not a group of politicians. Health insurance needs vary widely from one individual to the next and having the ability to choose the options that work best for an individual’s circumstances is fundamental to quality health care.
Several different market-based solutions could help low and modest-income individuals and families find affordable health coverage. Tax credits, tax deductions, health savings accounts and high-risk pools are all market-based options to make affordable medical insurance plans a reality for uninsured people who are working, but cannot afford affordable medical insurance.
Tax credits allow people to keep more of their income on a monthly basis in their pay so the can purchase coverage. Because tax credits enable people to make their own choices of providers, plans and doctors, they are considered to be a preferred market-based solution for affordable health coverage. Tax credits enable working people to pay for their own health insurance without having to fall back on Medicare or other government health programs. Because a tax credit would cost only half the amount of Medicare per individual, the burden on all taxpayers is also reduced, saving everyone money.
Private medical insurance can be affordable health coverage for every working American. By working with market-based solutions, health care reform can be a workable solution to the millions of Americans living in fear of a medical crisis because they have no medical insurance.
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