The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

NFIB Calls for Health Care Reform

Posted by Alan on March 20, 2008

The National Federation of Independent Businesses describes itself as “The Voice of Small Business.” And what they’re saying is that, when it comes to America’s health care system, small businesses are fed up with the status quo. They recently posted their health care reform proposal and, while there’s not a lot that’s changed in their proposal, the desire for changes rings through loud and clear.

The NFIB health care reform proposalis built around 11 principles. Notable among them is that all Americans should have access to quality care and protection against catastrophic costs. And while there’s a role for government in providing a saftey net to enable low income Americans to obtain coverage, they make clear “[t]his does not mean a government-run, single-payer system.”

Instead, the NFIB believes “Americans should receive their health insurance and healthcare through the private sector. Care must be taken to minimize the extent to which governmental safety nets crowd out private insurance and care.” They call for affordable coverage that is portable. “Americans should be able to move throughout the United States and change jobs without losing their health insurance.”

In getting specific concerning their reform proposals they call for allowing small business to create multi-state purchasing pools. These Small-Business Health Plans could be sponsored by a variety of organizations including, not surprisingly, the NFIB. This is one of the more controversial aspects of the NFIB reform package as many believe it would undermine state consumer protection laws, creating an unlevel playing field between the pool and non-pool health plans in any given state.

The NFIB’s other provisions include promotion of Health Savings Accounts, full deductibility of health insurance premiums for individuals and the ability for individuals to purchase coverage across state lines. This latter element reflects a component of Senator John McCain’s health care reform plan and is also controversial. It could defeat consumer protections enacted by states as carriers rush to offer plans under the most lenient state regulatory scheme.

While state health care reform proposals will continue to be debated in capitols across the country, my take is that meaningful change will require Federal action. Which means the proposals of advocates like the NFIB will, and should, be part of the debate. And it means proposals from other advocates will be coming fast and furious as a new administration takes shape.


One Response to “NFIB Calls for Health Care Reform”

  1. Andrew said

    The Farmer and the Insurance Agent

    Imagine you’re a farmer out in the country. You know what type of crops to plant and when to plant them. You take pride every year when you see your goods being sold to market and fell good about providing nutrition for both youth and adults. You know very well that some of your crop will spoil before they make it to the shelves. However, there is nothing you can do to prevent this, once it leaves your farm, someone else has the responsibility of delivering or storing your crop.

    Now imagine that about half of the population in the big cities has a great idea to stop crops from spoiling. They protest that the government should be the ones to grow and ship the crops. These idea holders have little knowledge of farming, but have heard that in some countries, government run farms appear to be just as efficient as ours. This is the basis of their argument. The government should run all farms and see that the shipment is delivered in a timely fashion, to ensure there are no spoiled products.

    As a farmer you know that spoiled crops are inevitable, unless you grow them right next to the store. But there are many who hold you responsible, for what is really the nature of produce. Although it’s clear to you and all other farmers, that it’s just the reality of farming, but to try and change the opinions of those in the far away cities would be impossible.

    Those who cling to this new idea are happy to consume your crops. However, they haven’t a clue as to what it takes to make them grow and to ship. They just want fresh produce and don’t care to educate themselves about what farming is about.

    The following year’s political season is filled with promises of government collectivization of farms. “Fresh produce” for all they say. This appeals to many, and the polls indicate that most people are in favor.

    With dust in their eyes, they cannot recognize the benefits of the current system. They can pick and choose which ever store they wish to shop at and always have a variety of produce to choose from. They can complain to the store management if the tomatoes are never fresh. Management, in turn, will probably call a new produce vendor to keep his customers happy.

    Shortly after the elections, an agricultural collectivization act is past. All farms are now government run. The harvest is expensive, but the government does its best and it turns out to be a great season. The Gov. then ships the harvest to the cities and the inevitable occurs. There are some spoiled goods. Now the city folk find themselves in a tight spot. Who can they complain to, and who would listen? Now they are stuck.

    I know the idea of Free Health care for all seems great, but it is a trap. You will be stuck with what ever the government says. What if you really needed a surgery and the Gov. deems it unnecessary or what if a preventable mistake occurs during a procedure? Maybe you feel your doctor is incompetent but he’s going to be your surgeon, who do you turn too?

    The reality is that your grievances will be ignored, you may be denied a life saving treatment or possibly a therapy that would improve your life. Today we have choices upon choices, and doctors are fully aware that you may drop them at any time. They save lives and alleviate pain, but at the end of the day, they still need to feed their families. So long they compete for our dollars, Dr.’s will always be at the mercy of the consumer. If you place your health in the hands of the government, you will no longer have control of your health, it will belong to the Feds.

    Less Gov. is Better Gov. So Long It’s a Fair Gov.

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