Holtz Healthcare Plank
Healthcare is both one of the trickiest and most important issues that the LP needs to address. One thing that makes it tricky is that it is subject to multiple kinds of market failure: asymmetric information between doctors and patients, adverse selection of insurers by insurees, moral hazard tempting insurees, and free-riding of potential donors leading to the underfinancing of charity healthcare. Another thing that makes it tricky is that America's healthcare market has for so long been so distorted by government interventions that it's hard for most people to see how a free market in healthcare would work. Addressing this issue requires an understanding of economics and law and how those disciplines intersect with healthcare. Anyone crafting the LP healthcare plank should be familiar with e.g.
- The Cato Institute Policy Handbook chapter on healthcare
- The Library of Economics and Liberty articles on health insurance and the health care industry
- Milton Friedman's 2001 How To Cure Health Care
- analyses by libertarian economists like Arnold Kling, Robin Hanson, and Tyler Cowan.
Here is a draft healthcare plank:
The problem with health care in America is not that Americans are under-insured. It's that we're over-insured in several important ways.
- The government provides an enormous tax subsidy for employers to provide health insurance, which hides the cost of insurance from the insured, exaggerates the problem of under-insurance among those who work for themselves or small employers or who don't work at all, and makes insurance portability a regulatory nightmare just as the 21st-century job market has become so much more fluid.
- The government provides bloated defined-benefit insurance programs (Medicare and Medicaid) with an antiquated mix of coverages and the wrong balance between routine care and catastrophic coverage.
- The government over-regulates private health insurance, interfering with the ability of insurers and beneficiaries to agree on lower-cost alternatives.
The government also increases costs by requiring defensive medicine and high insurance costs due to excessive malpractice awards, emphasizing licensure over certification, forcing high retail prices by demanding that the government get a discount from retail, and discouraging interstate health insurance competition.
We recognize the freedom and responsibility of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care.
We advocate the separation of medicine and State, and favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We oppose government attempts to replace or regulate private health insurers and private hospitals.
While we transition to a completely privatized healthcare system, we should remove the federal government's involvement in healthcare, and limit state government's role to a few key tasks that the government's own policies have in recent decades crowded out from private-sector accomplishment.
- Provide a safety net of basic health care for people in immediate need.
- Provide vouchers to people who cannot otherwise afford catastrophic health insurance.
- Require non-poor people to buy catastrophic insurance (so that they don't use the safety net as their insurance).
- Incentivize people to buy preventive care by means of tax-deductible medical savings accounts.
The very first thing that should be done is to have the federal government use its authority over interstate commerce to prevent states form barring interstate purchase of health insurance.
Aitken Healthcare Plank
Our Health Care system suffers from high costs, low competition, and too much government involvement and regulation which prevent consumers from having access to the choices that fit their needs. Over 40 million Americans are without health insurance. Millions more donâ€™t have the coverage and choices they want. Regulation of the Health Care industry costs an estimated $169 billion per year.
In a free society, health care planning is your responsibility, not the government's.
Market based reforms in health care will provide better choices at a lower cost.
- Employer health plans should be converted to individual employee plans. The cost of those plans plus 50% should be transferred to the employee as a wage increase and put in a tax exempt or tax deferred Health Savings Account. (If she now gets a $400 per month health care plan, she would receive a $600 per month wage increase to pay for her policy.) The employer retains the tax benefit via salary expense and enjoys a reduction in overhead to manage the benefits program. She gets more control, choice, and the money to pay for it.
- Let her to purchase health insurance from any business in the country, not just those licensed in her state.
- Let hospitals and patients enter voluntary contracts, which might include life insurance, to avoid lawsuits.
- To lower costs, states should repeal mandatory insurance coverage mandates including first dollar coverage.
- High deductible insurance should be optional with Health Savings Accounts.
- Regulation of medical providers and products should be optional, but those not regulated should be required to post prominent notices that say "Not Regulated by the Federal Government", or something similar. The notice should be accompanied by product history and insurance coverage verified by an independent agency.