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The Independent Institute
Commentary

Healthcare Contract with America


In 2014, ObamaCare begins in earnest, but open enrollment through the health care insurance exchanges begins October 1. A growing number of lawmakers are exhibiting cold feet about launching ObamaCare under their legislative watch. They are not alone.

A national poll released in early September finds significant public opposition to ObamaCare: 49 percent disapprove of the law, 33 percent strongly disapprove, 58 percent expect it to raise their healthcare costs, 38 percent of Americans think ObamaCare will make access to healthcare worse, and 54 percent of Americans are not confident that the Obama administration will be able to operate the ObamaCare exchanges.

Notwithstanding the opposition, the latest calls to “defund” ObamaCare, made popular by U.S Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, fall short of specifically identifying the inherent flaws and offering practical, free-market solutions to replace the healthcare overhaul law.

The Independent Institute, drawing on the ideas outlined in our 2012 landmark book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis by Dr. John C. Goodman, has partnered with Goodman to develop and promote a new Healthcare Contract with America, which identifies the key problems and corresponding solutions that will enable Americans to chart their own healthcare maps.

Six Reasons Why ObamaCare Will Fail:

  1. ObamaCare is not paid for.
  2. ObamaCare promises what it cannot deliver.
  3. ObamaCare subsidies and mandates will destabilize entire sectors of the economy.
  4. ObamaCare creates perverse incentives that threaten the quality of care.
  5. A weakly enforced mandate will undermine the health insurance marketplace.
  6. A strongly enforced mandate will strain almost every family budget.

Six Principles of a Free-Market Solution:

  1. Tax fairness: People at the same income level and with the same health status should get the same help from government when they purchase private health insurance.
  2. Universality: There should be some help for everyone, even those who fail to enroll in a health plan.
  3. Labor market neutrality: Health reform should not encourage employers to avoid hiring workers, to hire contract or temporary workers rather than regular employees, to hire part-time rather than full-time employees, or to break their commitments to provide post-retirement health care benefits.
  4. Portability: Employers should be encouraged, rather than discouraged, from offering portable insurance to their employees.
  5. Self-insurance: The tax law should treat saving for future medical expenses just as generously as premiums paid to third-party insurance and medical savings accounts should be allowed to be completely flexible – wrapping around any third-party health insurance plan.
  6. Real insurance: When people switch health plans, insurers should be allowed to charge premiums that reflect real risks, but people should be able to buy the kind of insurance that protects them from premium hikes after their health condition deteriorates.

Since the release of Priceless in June 2012, the Independent Institute has led the charge to restore control of our health to consumers and their doctors. Dr. Goodman is a leading spokesperson on these issues, appearing frequently on Fox News’ Special Report with Brett Baier, Fox Business’ John Stossel program, C-SPAN, and has published regularly in the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, Forbes, and National Review, among many others.

Dr. Goodman and I are committed to achieving true healthcare reform in the next legislative battles, which requires freeing caregivers and patients by allowing them to interact in innovative ways to help individuals meet their unique medical needs. We remain firmly convinced that the time to repeal and replace is now, with just months separating us from another massive government overreach that Americans cannot afford.


Lawrence J. McQuillan is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute.