Our current situation: Six million Americans, including over 290,000 Washingtonians received health insurance policy cancellation notices with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), because those policies did not include all of the several federal mandates. Washington State has 58 mandates in all our insurance policies, which had already chased some health insurance companies out of state. These mandates include coverage probably not needed by every Washingtonian such as midwives, acupuncture and port wine stain removal.
Both the federal and state mandates have left employers and employees less options from which to choose. And less choice leads to less competition and higher prices, hurting consumers and even forcing some businesses to close their doors. Those who have lost the plans they liked are paying an average of 41% more.
While the federal government allowed for a delay in implementation, the Washington State Insurance Commissioner declined the opportunity to delay, despite many having to pay hundreds more each month for health insurance. Washington families need more choice in affordable health insurance policies.
My solution: Eliminating many of the 58 mandates that are currently required for all insurance policies in our state will drive down costs and encourage more companies to compete for our business. And we can get more choice and competition by allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines.
Just as we don’t expect our car insurance to pay for our tires and gas, federal and state law should allow employers the latitude to offer health savings accounts and much less expensive health insurance policies that don’t cover every sniffle and cough. As people see financial incentive in using their health dollars wisely, we would see significantly lower health costs.
States that have put limits on non-economic damage court settlements drive down costs and enjoy a greater choice of physicians, because the lower medical overhead costs encourage doctors to practice in those states. We need this type of tort reform.
And until the federal government irons out the implementation problems with the legislation, we should allow Washingtonians to delay participation.