Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s timely piece in The Washington Post, lays out his elements of a serious health care reform package. Even in the face of clear and growing opposition from the majority of the American people, the White House and the Congressional leadership continue to ignore any of the common sense ideas put forth by serious health care analysts who do not tow a left wing policy agenda. There are numerous bills in Congress that would have positive impact on the health care system, and would sharply reduce the numbers of Americans who are uninsured. Americans should note the efforts of Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Tom Price.
Several of Gov. Jindal’s proposals have real merit and, as he points out, could be the basis for a truly bipartisan bill, resulting in ending the deep divisions that now exist in Congress over health care policy. A bill that would garner enough support from both sides of the aisle would also give the American people confidence in the legislation, rather than the irresponsible decision to ignore popular opposition and start fast tracking an unknown bill with unknown cost that will guarantee a massive upheaval of the current system, including the loss of existing health care coverage for millions of Americans.
Here are a few of Jindal’s ideas that hold great promise and would lay the foundation for a better way forward on health care reform.
- Voluntary purchasing pools, where individuals can have a wide choice of coverage options and where insurers compete for consumers based on value rather than a federal one-size-fits-all solution;
- Portability, where consumer would own their health care coverage and keep it from job to job;
- Refundable tax credits, for those who need help and by offsetting these costs by redirecting existing spending, not new spending.
The massive House and Senate bills in their current forms are not, in any sense, a serious attempt at bi-partisanship. It is remarkable that the Administration considers the effort to sway even one Republican Senate vote as serious attempt to achieve bipartisanship. Instead, Congress should start over, hit the reset button, and begin to explore ideas that already bring all sides together. It’s what the American people want and deserve.