Republican Healthcare Alternative

What is to be done in reponse to the new government report that claims the cost of health care will double to almost twenty percent of the U.S. GDP by 2017?

With Democrats dominating the national health care debate, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Co-Chair on the House Rural Health Care Coalition Reforms, gave an answer not often heard: the philosophical grounding of a non-governmental system to ensure low costs and good care.

At yesterday’s Conservative Blogger’s Briefing, the youngish Camp emphasized reforming the tax code and increasing individual choice, and easing the burden on businesses through their entering into insurance purchasing pools. He supports Health Savings Accounts, which allows individuals to pay for health care no even if they switch jobs or retire. Camp is also a strong supporter of medical liability reform and the creation of a national marketplace to buy insurance, both of which drive costs up.

Its somewhat in line with what Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has talked about in his limited dialogue on health care.

But therein lies the problem.

“Republicans don’t talk about health care enough, but they want us to talk more, and when we do, they like what we have to say, and they like what we have to say a lot better than what the Democrats have to say,” said Camp.

“Hillarycare” and “Obamacare” have dominated the Democratic presidential nominee debate, while Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.) has the issue planted squarely on the sidelines.  What attention he has paid to it — focusing on driving down costs — has been lost amidst the din of Democrats cry to “cover the uninsured!”

Maybe that is because promoting a policy of individual choice and responsibility isn’t as sexy as giving free handouts. But Democrats’ free handouts policy is not only financially unfeasible, said Camp, but frequently underpays doctors, limiting choice and availability.

“I firmly believe we can and should solve America’s health care crisis in an American way,” said Camp in a statement. “If we choose to go down the path that Western Europe or Canada has, it will be no surprise when we come to the same destination – a universal health care system that leaves your family dog with better coverage and care than you get.”

If left up to Camp, the Republican message on health care would be clear. Use the tax code to create personal care. Reform insurance regulations. Update laws to accommodate a focus on wellness and preventive care. No government mandates on who can choose what health insurance plan.

And get rid of the misleading rhetoric on the number of uninsured Americans.

The highly-popularized 47-million uninsured comes from several twisted facts, Camp explained. Ten million of those 47 million are illegal, and another 10 million are people who are eligible but do not enroll.

That leaves 26 million uninsured, some of whom simply choose to pay out of pocket.

That’s “a little less than nine percent of the population, but Hillary wants us — you — to pay for all of these people,” said Camp.

Even without a Democratic plan to cover uninsured Americans, those who currently have health insurance will increasingly rely on the public for health care support. The government report released today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services detailed how an aging population will lead to an explosion in the number of Americans who qualify for Medicare, and drive up the public cost of health care by 6.7 percent per year through 2017.