Reducing Spiraling Health Care Costs
Rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all, government-run system, we must recognize the importance of the role of the states in leading reform and the need for innovation in dealing with rising health care costs and the problem of the uninsured. By expanding and deregulating the private health insurance market, we can decrease costs and ensure that more Americans have access to affordable, portable, quality, private health insurance.
CHALLENGE: Health care costs are spiraling out of control. Tens of millions of Americans can't afford health insurance and millions more are worried about losing their coverage. Democrats believe that the solution to these problems is a one-size-fits-all, government-run, socialized health care system — a course that threatens medical progress and restricts free markets. They think that government can do a better job of choosing a doctor and making better health care decisions than individual Americans can. Reform of our health care system must address the twin problems of high costs and the uninsured while leaving in place the elements of our system that promote creativity, innovation, and consumer choice.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "[W]e need to find a way to reduce the rate of growth of spending in health care in our country it's now 17 percent of our GDP. When I was a consultant in the insurance industry, some years ago in the 1980s, it was 11 percent. The idea it would get to 17 percent was unthinkable. And it continues to move northward." (Governor Mitt Romney, Remarks At The Florida Medical Association, 8/24/07)
"The 45 million who don't have insurance if they get sick they go to the emergency room for care. And that's not ideal care, as you know, it's not the preventative care they need, doesn't get them the prescription drugs to stave off an acute condition developing from a chronic condition.
And the cost of the health provided there at the emergency room is not paid for by them because they don't have insurance.Who's it paid for by? Well, by the people who do have insurance So not having insurance is not good for them, doesn't give them good quality health care and it's not good for everybody else, because they're having to pay for it, through their taxes or their premiums. The problem of the uninsured is a problem for all Americans." (Governor Mitt Romney, Remarks At The Florida Medical Association, 8/24/07)
The Romney Plan:
Use A Free Market, Federalist Approach To Make Quality, Affordable Health Insurance Available To Every American
Deregulate State Markets. Encourage states to eliminate the cumbersome insurance regulations that drive costs up and providers out of the market.
Fix The Tax Code. Level the playing field by making all health care expenses tax deductible, eliminating the special treatment afforded employer-provided health plans.
Stop The Free-Riders. Use some of the money currently spent on providing expensive "free care" for the uninsured at emergency rooms to instead help the truly needy buy private insurance.
Reform The Medical Liability System. Institute federal caps on non-economic and punitive damage awards to eliminate frivolous lawsuits and bring an end to the practice of defensive medicine.
Promote Innovation In Medicaid. Give states flexibility to spend their Medicaid dollars in whatever way they find most efficient and effective.
Bring Health Care Into The 21st Century. Improve quality and enhance transparency by introducing the same competitive forces that drive innovation in other sectors of the economy.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "My plan would allow people to purchase private insurance, not government insurance. No government-managed health care and no increase in taxes." (Tim Rohwer, "Romney Visits Bluffs," Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, 3/23/07)
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "But we say let's rely on personal responsibility. Help people buy their own private insurance. Get our citizens insured, not with a government takeover, not with new taxes needed, but instead with a free marketbased system that gets all of our citizens in the system. No more free rides." (ABC, Republican Presidential Debate, Des Moines, IA, 8/5/07)
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "Conservative principles have the answers for health care. I think I'm going to be able to demonstrate to you today the conservative principles of personal responsibility and free market dynamics and choice and personal care these kinds of elements allow us to reform health care in such a way that we can solve the problems that America faces in health care without having a government takeover, without having socialized medicine with all its drawbacks and all its weaknesses." (Governor Mitt Romney, Remarks At The Florida Medical Association, 8/24/07)