Opinion

You got a better idea?

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, file) President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, file)

For months – if not years – my single biggest gripe about the flanking attacks of the president’s health care plan has been the deafening vacuum of better ideas.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s easy to criticize an idea that’s already out there. It’s why we have trial balloons. It’s a helluva lot harder to offer solutions. Because those get hammered -- whether it's on the floor of the House or in pages of the press.

And the most frustrating about that is the opportunity is right there for the taking. The public is more disenchanted with this president -- and more importantly his health care “fix” -- than ever before. Trade pub Morning Consult found that two out of three Americans would like to see major changes made to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. More than a third actually want it defunded or repealed altogether. Hell, nearly two-thirds of Democrats polled want to see more delays or an outright appeal.

It’s clear they don’t need to hear more critiques. They get it already. That battle’s won. Now they’re hungry for solutions.

So believe me when I tell you how refreshing it is to hear about the Republican from Georgia --Tom Price -- who’s been trying to get his alternative heard for four years now. He wants to see interstate competition, tort reform and tax credits.

Or the Republican from Nebraska -- Lee Terry -- who just this month proposed his own alternate health reform idea at a town hall meeting back home. He wants an expansion of his own health plan, as a member of Congress, extended to everyone. Of course, that would include private exchanges and subsidies.

And I’m sure both of these gentlemen will earn their fair share of naysayers, but we’ve got to start somewhere past the point of “No.”

It’s a given some sort of reform is needed -- and has been since before Richard Nixon brought it up on the campaign trail decades ago. We need better access that matches our defense of  “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We need to address costs that defy any conventional wisdom of modern economics. And we need to improve outcomes that don’t reflect our investment in the system. And we need to hold up all three of these pillars within the context of the free market system that’s the standard bearer across the globe.

I’m tired of being so cynical, but, damn, why is it so hard for us all to come together with the realization that its in our own self-interest to have a country full of healthy employees, consumers and voters?

All I ask is that we maybe consider health care reform -- or even health insurance reform -- beyond the confines of credits, subsidies or even employers. Is it really so radical to suggest that maybe we should start thinking about addressing costs rather than throwing more money at a system that seems to gobble it up faster than we can print it?

About the Author
Denis Storey

Denis Storey

Denis Storey is editor for BenefitsPro.com and Benefits Selling magazine. He can be reached at dstorey@benefitspro.com.

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