Competition: How Patient-Centered Health Care Reaches Affordability

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Washington, January 11, 2017 | comments

Competition is a good thing.  I’m a competitor, so I appreciate competitive sports, contests. I like it when companies compete for my business.  When I make a choice, I feel I have gotten a better deal.  I have had options and I chose what I wanted.  Health care is no different.  Competition benefits consumers with better options in both insurance and service options. It has always been my belief that competition allows a pathway for patient-centered care. In fact in, you can go back to the 2010 Blair House Summit on health care reform where I offered my legislation for across state lines health insurance purchase to President Obama.  You can watch here.    

Many elected officials, health care providers, and American citizens have seen Obamacare increase the cost of health care and health insurance.  Also, it is far too often that we see government organizations forecast that the U.S. health spending will grow considerably faster than growth in the economy.

This rapid growth leads a general consensus of Americans to beg the question – should competition be allowed within our current health care system?

One idea that demonstrates this type of free-market competition includes selling health insurance across state lines. This opens up the health insurance marketplace and in turn, make premiums more affordable for consumers. It allows you to buy insurance from whomever you want and wherever they are located.

Right now, if you decide to purchase individual health insurance, that plan is regulated by a specific state. Whereas an open market would eliminate the many differing state regulations to allow more health plan options – regardless of state - for the purposes of consumer flexibility.

This idea would allow insurers to sell health plans to consumers according to the rules of a single state, regardless of where a person lives. This concept would create a new framework that promotes competition for states by encouraging a reduction in unnecessary regulation.

Allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines flips the narrative from a bureaucratic choice to an individual choice, rather than a “one-size-fits-most” health plan that may not provide value for different consumer needs. 

Currently, because of Obamacare, the federal government has mandated what insurers’ offer consumers. The mandate to become a qualified health plan has, undoubtedly, limited how health plans operate – and this change is the farthest thing from competition, it is a form of wealth distribution.

The conclusion is simple - if the federal government is in the driver’s seat for regulating individual health choices – competition cannot exist. Therefore, it’s important that we allow states and consumers more flexibility in purchasing a health plan that it truly tailored to their needs.

That’s why I have been a long-time champion and author of legislation in the House called the Health Care Choice Act, which allows the purchase of health insurance across state lines. This bill will cut through the bureaucratic red tape and allows states, consumers and providers a better option for individual – patient centered – health care.

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