Nov 28, 2018

Three Ways to Promote Health Care Openness

Post by Freedom Partners

Health care is one of the most regulated industries in American life.

Need proof?

Consider the myriad regulations preventing Americans from accessing quality care — and these potential solutions for giving health care reform a shot:

Short-Term, Limited-Duration Health Insurance Plans: The Trump administration made the right move in expanding access to short-term, limited-duration insurance plans, removing the three-month limitation on the use of this coverage and extending it to three years. Millions are expected to make use of these new flexible insurance plans, which cost on average 50-80 percent less than plans found on the Obamacare exchanges.

This is good news for Americans — but it’s not entirely certain that all will be able to avail themselves of these new insurance plans. A handful of states aim to keep their current restrictions on these plans, despite federal deregulation.

These new plans are an important option for patients, providing more access to doctors and hospitals than many Obamacare plans.

Health Reimbursement Accounts: Obamacare made it more difficult for small to midsize companies to provide health care to their employees — from 2010 to 2018, the number of small companies offering health insurance fell from 44 percent to 30 percent.

That’s why the Trump administration’s recent rule change to allow employees to use their employer-provided HRAs to purchase insurance off the individual market was an excellent step in the right direction.

The Treasury Department estimates that 800,000 employers will take advantage of these plans, benefitting over 10 million employees. But for more Americans to enjoy the benefits of these new HRAs, states must also relax their regulations on the use of these accounts. Doing so will ensure health care in America becomes more available and affordable.

Repeal State Certificate of Need Laws: While the federal government repealed its certificate of need (CON) mandate in 1986, 35 states and the District of Columbia still maintain these regulations on health care providers. CON laws require government permission before health care providers can enter the market, expand, offer additional services or purchase new equipment.

While these laws were meant to ensure an adequate supply of care, increase its quality and restrain its costs, they do precisely the opposite.

CON laws establish monopolies by artificially restricting competition, which necessarily makes care harder to obtain and more difficult to afford.