George Phillies on healthcare

From the Phillies 2008 campaign:

Libertarian Presidential candidate George Phillies today urged simple steps to reduce the cost of medical insurance. “There are no magic cures,” Phillies said. “I am proposing Libertarian improvements in our medical care system. These are changes Americans will actually accept and implement now. Once Americans see these changes work, they will be more ready to trust more radical Libertarian proposals.

“First, transfer costs should be eliminated. Right now, anyone who comes to a hospital emergency room gets free care even if they don’t have health insurance. That care is emergency room care, some of the most expensive medical care there is. Who pays for it? It’s a transfer cost, an ‘administrative cost’ charged to your health insurance, which in turn raises your rates. Transfer costs exist because Congress passed an unfunded mandate requiring hospitals to give free care.

“Unfunded mandates should be repealed. If Congress insists on giving away free medical care—not my recommendation—they should pay the costs. Replacing an unfunded mandate and a hidden cost transfer with a funded mandate eliminates a tax—the hidden tax on your health insurance. It makes that cost visible and makes Congress answerable for it. That’s the first step in the right direction.

“Second, drug costs come partly from redundant safety approvals. Medical drugs approved for use in Europe should be accepted for use here without having to go through another approval process. 100,000 American lives could have been saved by bringing beta blockers to the American market as soon as they were approved in Europe.

“Third, tax treatment for medical care costs should be the same for everyone. No matter whether your employer buys your insurance, you buy your insurance, or you pay out of pocket, your spending should have the same tax treatment.

“Fourth, we should allow interstate competition in medical insurance because competition is good. Now in 2008, your insurance costs can change several-fold simply by your moving residence across state lines. Interstate commerce will eliminate inequalities in the market.

“I’m not going to make miraculous promises about preventive medicine. Americans can do some things for themselves to help live a healthier life. See a physician regularly and follow your physician’s advice. Advice like: Avoid tobacco smoke. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise vigorously and regularly. Maintain your adult vaccinations. Wear your seat belt. Have the routine screening exams that work. The old adage that an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure is true, especially if that ‘cure’ involves high emergency room costs.

“I’m not going to tell you fairy tales about tort reform greatly reducing costs. We have lawsuits because medical people sometimes make gross blunders. People injured by incompetence or negligence deserve compensation. I encourage individual states to experiment with radically different tort and insurance rules. That helped with no-fault auto insurance.”

“I’m not proposing pie-in-the-sky philosophical purist changes,” Phillies said. “I’m not proposing miracles. I’m proposing changes that Americans will understand and find attractive. I’m proposing solutions that move us in the Libertarian direction and that can be implemented today.”

5 Responses to “George Phillies on healthcare”

  1. Brian Ewart Says:

    Brilliant. I disagree with some of Phillies other position statements, but this one appears pretty solid.

  2. timothy west Says:

    the problem is that ER’s are forced to act as clinics for the welfare state. every kid with a snotty nose gets dragged in.

    A far better position is to go back to allowing medical personnel to decide what a bona fide emergency is instead of government. Turn ER’s back into ER’s where only emergency cases are seen, and others with kids with snotty noses get turned away after a cursory exam made by triage nurses.

    Don’t explain the LP position with economics. Explain it using real life examples.

    “this is why you have to wait 7 hours to get seen by a doctor in the ER”.......

  3. timothy west Says:

    one other thing: the LP should call for a end to the practice of working 40 and 50 hours at a time on shift for resident doctors. Tired doctors make bad medical decisions, and kill a lot of patients as a result.

    It’s nothing more than hazing by those in the system and serves no purpose other than to kill a lot of people.

  4. Richie Says:

    Thumbs up to Phillies! One thing that makes the Libertarian Party unrealistic to voters is lack of transitional plans. This is one of the reasons that Ron Paul was so successful. Phillies’ health care plan is realistic in that it can be implemented in the short-term. Even though I don’t agree with you on everything, good work!

  5. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    George writes: ““First, transfer costs should be eliminated. Right now, anyone who comes to a hospital emergency room gets free care even if they don’t have health insurance. That care is emergency room care, some of the most expensive medical care there is. Who pays for it? It’s a transfer cost, an ‘administrative cost’ charged to your health insurance, which in turn raises your rates. Transfer costs exist because Congress passed an unfunded mandate requiring hospitals to give free care. ”

    One of the things that might make ER so popular in many places is the government’s requirement that new medical facilities get what is known as a “certificate of need” before they are built thus limiting places where patients may go at midnight. If my recall is correct there was a study published last year that suggested that many, maybe 80% of the patients in ER had health insurance.

    May I suggest that we also need to get specific on the problems created by occupational licensing. Afterall midwives were outlawed in many of the states for years and are now just getting a toehold in the birthing business. While American medical care is often compared to Europe I believe that you will find about 75% of births in Europe are attended by midwives, but in America the number is about 10% Then there is a study on the American Nurses Association website that suggest that nurses can do about 60 to 80% of what doctors do. Giving mothers more choices may just help the LP with a bit of name recognition with this demographic group.

    In referring to the problems with insurance I think you will find that the problem stems from the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1948 and that act may impact all types of insurance not just healthcare. It might be worth checking out and call for the repeal of the act by name thus helping consumers all across the board with all kinds of insurance.

    Just a couple of points that maybe some of the candidates might care to check out and use.

    Why do I have my doubts.

    MHW

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