Jindal health plan worth considering

Published 9:20 am Friday, July 24, 2009

In the Wednesday edition of the Wall Street Journal, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (Rep.) outlines what seems like a common-sense approach to bi-partisan health care reform.

Like most of us in American, Jindal acknowledges that we need health-care reform. But he also warns that the package being pushed through Congress now, with PResident Barack Obama’s urging, is destined to ultimate fail and lave America and Americans worse off thane when we began.

Jindal’s outline, which calls for open and honest debate – something the president promised in his campaign speeches when he said he would debate health care reform on CNN and bring all the parties to the table to make their case publicly – calls for seven principles that make good sense:

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Consumer choice guided by transparency. Individuals should be able to choose integrated plans that best meet their needs, and pricing and outcomes for all tests, treatments and procedures should be posted on the Internet.

Aligned consumer interests: Consumers should be financially invested through health savings accounts, lower premiums and reduced cost sharing, with such benefits as savings if their lifestyles reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases.

Medical lawsuit reform. Defensive medicine costs an estimated $100 billion plus each year, according to some studies. Jindal says no health reform is serious about reducing costs unless it reduces the costs of frivolous lawsuits. We agree.

Insurance reform. Policies should be portable, with more coverage for pre-existing conditions. Reinsurance, high-risk pools and other mechanisms could reduce the dangers of adverse risk selection and the incentive to avoid covering the sick.

Pooling for small businesses, the self-employed and others. Individuals should benefit from the economies of scale currently available to large employers.

Pay for performance, not activity. Roughly 75 percent of health care spending is for the care of chronic conditions. We need integrated networks focusing on emphasizing prevention and disease management.

Refundable tax credits. Low-income working Americans without health insurance should get help in buying private coverage through a refundable tax credit, which is preferable to building a separate, government-run health-care plan.

Jindal’s plan is a viable option worth exploring, for the of our nation and our economy.