The idea is to introduce market forces into health care to hold down costs that are soaring unsustainably. Here’s how it would work: The government would essentially pay for the first $5,700 in coverage for a family through the credit, and the family would pay the rest out of pocket. With the average family plan costing $12,700 now, that is a major cost. An employer could contribute, but with workers having to pay tax on the benefit, the employer might as well convert it to pay.
The upside is that having Americans pay for more of their medical needs with their own money would give people incentive to shop around when looking for insurance or having procedures done, putting pressure on providers to control costs.
The health-care showdown is bound to be fiercely contentious, given its sweeping implications. As countless pundits have remarked, the political terrain looks much different today than it did in 1993 and 1994, when President Clinton took his ill-fated stab at transforming the U.S. health system. Republicans are fighting an uphill battle. But the Burr-Coburn bill indicates that at least some of them are serious about developing their own version of comprehensive reform. It certainly beats just stamping your feet and just saying NO ! I believe that market forces must be put into play if we want to have a realistic chance of curbing the cost of health care.
Hopefully there will be some bipartisan collaboration on this vitally important subject.