Obamacare is a truly epic mistake, but it's also one that's not going away anytime soon.
With that in mind, here are three ways to immediately make the president's signature legislative achievement better, cheaper, and more cost-effective.
1. Let anyone buy "catastrophic plan."
As it stands, only people under 30 years of age and a few other folks can buy cheap "catastrophic plans" that cover few regular procedures but protect you against very costly medical emergencies. Catastrophic plans are much cheaper than the cheapest comprehensive bronze plans at Healthcare.gov.
One of the selling points of Obamacare was that it would let people choose plans that fit their needs. If a catastrophic plan is what you want, why not be allowed to buy one despite your age?
2. Force insurers to compete across state lines.
Health insurance companies, in cahoots with state insurance commissions, have carved up their territories like old-school mob families.
A true national market that would force insurers to compete across state lines for customers on the basis of price and service. A national market would expand consumer options and eventually lead to new ways of doing business. It works in auto and home insurance and would work with health insurance, too.
3. Grow the supply of medical care already.
Obamacare increases the demand for medical care but does virtually nothing to grow its supply.
That's a recipe for shortages and long wait times.
The quickest way to grow the supply of health care is to ditch all sorts of barriers ranging from super-slow FDA approval processes for new drugs and devices to protectionist professional licensing to tightly restricted medical school admissions. Almost three dozen states give existing hospitals an indirect say in whether new, competing hospitals can be built!
Scrapping all of these rules and more would make health care easier and cheaper to get.
Obamacare is not just a dumb law but a deeply offensive one. In a perfect world, it would be repealed and we'd actually move toward a true free market in health care (even before Obamacare, local, state, and federal governments were spending nearly 50 cents of each buck spent on health care).
But in the world we actually live in, Obamacare isn't going away any time soon. The least we can do in the meantime is make it less horrible.
About 2.30 minutes. Written by Nick Gillespie and produced by Joshua Swain.
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