Health care needs 300 million-payer system

Marketplace Staff Dec 6, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: That’s one way to cut health-care costs. Putting everyone’s records on a computer. There are others. Better tests and new drugs. Roche said today it has a heart test that could speed up diagnoses. Might save $600 million in the North American market. Commentator Newt Gingrich says the best way to cut costs is to change who pays.

NEWT GINGRICH: Today, nearly half of all CEOs cite rising healthcare costs as the greatest threat to their business.

But Washington’s answer to this problem is always the same: Force employers to pay even more for the current bad system, or force taxpayers to pay for single-payer, government-run healthcare.

But why should businesses that have to watch their bottom line be forced to pay for a healthcare system that literally has no bottom line?

And why would anyone believe that government could create an affordable, high-quality system? The fact is, government can’t.

The goal should not be a single-payer system, but a 300 million-American-payer system.

Let the system be guided by the responsible decisions of the American people, not by the unaccountable decisions of a government bureaucracy.

Start by letting people buy health insurance across state lines to get the best policy at the best price.

We wouldn’t leave anyone out in the cold. The poor would be given a voucher to purchase private insurance.

Let the market drive this 300 million-payer system. Think of your health as a rental car. Nobody washes a rental car. But once you own your car, you take care of it.

Under a 300 million-payer system, people would have to have to take charge of their health, their insurance, their doctor, and any chronic condition. Let them take a tax deduction for the insurance they buy.

The whole idea is choice. A 300 million-payer system would mean greater numbers of people in the market for better doctors and better services.

That would spark new ways of marketing medical services and procedures.

Those innovations would increase the desire for better information about best medical services and procedures.

Employers can’t afford the healthcare system we’ve got. Government can’t fix it. But the American people can.

RYSSDAL: Newt Gingrich knows a little something about government. He spent 20 years in Congress, four of them as Speaker of the House.

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