by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
No matter who the president is, or which political party has control of Congress, access to affordable health insurance and the medical care that goes along with it has been top of mind for years. President Trump made progress by issuing executive orders, as John Locke Foundation government affairs associate Jordan Roberts details for Carolina Journal readers. Jordan urges the Biden administration to resist the temptation to roll back two key orders.
The first executive order dealt with expanding coverage through association health plans, health reimbursement accounts, and short-term, limited-duration insurance. The second one dealt with the opacity in health care pricing requiring that hospitals must post prices up front for most services and that insurers disclose prices and cost sharing estimates with patients.
Jordan is right. These executive orders are steps toward easier and greater access to health insurance and care –– care whose costs are predictable and transparent.
Problem is, the president-elect campaigned on expanding government’s role in health insurance and care. That’s the wrong direction, as Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute explained in November for Forbes readers. Here’s a taste of ‘Bidencare.’
The president-elect also wants to give those eligible for employer-sponsored insurance the option to decline it in favor of a taxpayer-funded plan.
All these proposed changes are expensive. The Biden campaign estimated that federal spending on exchange coverage alone would double between 2021 and 2030, if his plans were adopted.
The least likely piece of the Biden agenda to become reality is his proposed “public option.” This government-run health plan would compete against private plans on Obamacare’s exchanges. Low-income Americans living in states that did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare would automatically be enrolled in a version of the public option without premiums or deductibles.
Those of us who believe in giving Americans control and power over their health insurance and care will be speaking out loudly on this critical issue. We should build our future on competition and choice, not the federal government. Locke experts have defined myriad ways to do that, along with the specific steps that should be taken by policymakers to get it done. Let’s get started.