Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal proposes alternative health care plan

From Examiner.com (7/22/09)
By D. Christian Moore, Law & Politics Examiner

Governor Bobby Jindal, R-LA, published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal laying out an alternative to the health care reform plan currently under consideration in Congress. Gov. Jindal’s plan addresses many of the systemic issues interfering with the efficient delivery of health care in the United States, and tackles tough problems by addressing consumer choice, transparency and tort reform.

Speaking of consumer choice and transparency Mr. Jindal writes:

“We need a system where individuals choose an integrated plan that adopts the best disease-management practices, as opposed to fragmented care. Pricing and outcomes data for all tests, treatments and procedures should be posted on the Internet. Portable electronic health-care records can reduce paperwork, duplication and errors, while also empowering consumers to seek the provider that best meets their needs.

Aligned consumer interests. Consumers should be financially invested in better health decisions through health-savings accounts, lower premiums and reduced cost sharing. If they seek care in cost-effective settings, comply with medical regimens, preventative care, and lifestyles that reduce the likelihood of chronic disease, they should share in the savings.”

What the Governor is speaking about is reducing federal and state mandates in order to give consumers real choices between high and low deductible plans, and minimal or comprehensive coverage. He also seeks to increase portability by making it easier for citizens to purchase health insurance outside of their employer.

Speaking of tort reform he writes:

“The practice of defensive medicine costs an estimated $100 billion-plus each year, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, which used a study by economists Daniel P. Kessler and Mark B. McClellan. No health reform is serious about reducing costs unless it reduces the costs of frivolous lawsuits.”

I have written previously of the need for tort reform and the dangers of a government option becoming the de facto only option.

After my recent two part series examining President Obama’s health care plan, I found it refreshing to read through Governor Jindal’s alternative. Empowering individuals to purchase health insurance in a truly free market is the best way to reduce costs while making health care delivery far more efficient. It is a serious and well thought-out series of proposals, and deserves consideration by anyone who intends to produce real health care reform, rather than just expand government control.

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