By Josh Hursa
Imagine you get in your car, start it up and pull out of Rider onto Route 206. A car doesn’t see you pull out and slams on its brakes. You see the car, but it’s too late. When you wake up, you’re in the hospital, and they ask for your health insurance card. For most students, we are lucky enough to be covered by our parents’ medical insurance. Unfortunately, there are many people in this country who do not have health care. Small-business owners, the self-employed and low-income Americans have a hard time affording their own health care. Sen. John McCain has a plan to insure every American, regardless of his or her financial situation.
Every state has regulatory oversight of the insurance that is sold in the state. When we purchase insurance, either as an individual or as an organization, the insurance company must provide us only the coverage that is dictated by the state.
As is proven all too often, the interference of bureaucrats in the making of policy hurts the average person. For example, the New Jersey state legislature mandates that a healthy, 20-year-old male must be covered for breast cancer screenings and prenatal care. A 20-year-old female must be covered for prostate exams.
One can easily argue that these kinds of regulations drive up the cost of health insurance. Why should I pay for health coverage that I do not want and, at times, simply don’t need? A 20-year-old female is not biologically equipped with a prostate but still must pay for that coverage.
Individuals should be able to negotiate with the insurance company of their choice for the coverage they want. If we were able to purchase our coverage from any state, we would be able to drastically reduce the price of our coverage. Competition between companies will reduce the price of health insurance.
Aside from the increased competition that will come with breaking down the state barriers, McCain plans to give every American a tax rebate in order to defray the cost of health insurance. An average American family will receive a direct refundable tax credit of $5,000; an individual will receive $2,500. This money will go to the insurance company that the family chooses to receive coverage from — any company in the country regardless of the state of residence. The power of choice gives the individual the ability to decide what is in his or her best interest.
A third plan that McCain wants to implement to lower health care costs is to work with the National Governors Association. The chief executives of the states have direct contact with voters in their states. They bring a unique voice and can help push their state legislatures to enact a model that all states can follow. Under this plan, states can put reasonable caps on premiums and assist low-income residents in seeking health care. Given the right tools, the states can address this problem head-on and have a lot of input from the citizenry.
We can solve the problem of costly medical insurance if we work together. Cutting taxes and giving people the choice to purchase any health care they desire is preferable to someone else making a decision that is costly and will add another tax to a family already struggling to make ends meet. If given the financial resources, one would be hard-pressed to find an individual who did not want to insure his or her family. Choice, freedom and responsibility are the right approach to health care.