Let's Get Away from Employer Provided Health Insurance.
- Keep the government out and let it happen (because it will). This emphasizes individual responsibility abd is a libertarian, almost Ayn Rand approach.
- Get the government in, big time.
The most radical approach--a single payer option--would relieve business of the need to provide health insurance benefits. While the costs of such a program should give everyone pause, it would be a boon to a U.S. business.
A more conservative approach could also be used to move the country away from employer provided insurance (where it is going away anyway). Some ideas that have been proposed and on which there is fairly widespread agreement.
- Allow individuals to shop for insurance coverage all across the country. This increases insurance competition and would reduce insurance rates some.
- Allow individals to buy health insurance with pre-tax dollars, which would put them on the same playing field as workers who get tax-free health insurance from their employers. (The negative version of this is treat employee benefits as income and tax them.) This is only fair--and should encourage people to buy their own health insurance.
- Force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, with some controls designed to prevent people from dropping insurance to save money and coming back in to gain coverage for serious medical conditions. This would essentially create a national "group," which reduces the value of employer-provided coverage and increases the value of indivudal coverage.
- Institute an "individual mandate," similar to the individual mandate for auto insurance in many states. Individuals would have to carry insurance or pay an income tax penalty. (Do not, on the other hand, institute and employer mandate.)
- Emphasize catastrophic/Health Savings Account insurance at reasonable rates. These plans are cheaper because they are true insurance plans, protecting against catastrophe, instead of pretending to cover all health issues. Their high deductibles force individuals to either get gap insurance (an option), to shop around, or just to be more responsible for their own basic maintenance.