Saturday, July 7, 2012

This Is Herman Cain 7: Health Care

For my write-up today on This Is Herman Cain, my focus will be on health care.  In my latest reading, Herman Cain made some of the same points that he made earlier in the book about this topic.  I'd like to quote a passage from earlier in the book because I think that it's clearer, plus it raises points that I'd like to address.

On page 179, Cain says the following:

"Looser pay laws would be a great start!  And loosening the restrictions on health care savings accounts would help to empower Americans to save and invest their own money to expand their options for care.  I believe that we need to level the playing field by allowing the deductibility of health insurance premiums, regardless of whether they are purchased by the employer or the employee.  This would shift ownership of one's health care back to where it belongs, with the individual."

I'll also quote what Herman Cain says on page 209: "Right now the employer gets a deduction but the employee doesn't get a deduction----and if you level the playing field such that it doesn't matter who pays for it, you get a tax deduction for your health insurance."

On this blog, I've questioned whether health savings accounts are an adequate solution to health care problems, for there are people whose accounts have been wiped out due to the high cost of health care.  At the same time, I do believe that, if there are things that the federal government (or state governments) is doing that hinder health savings accounts or discourage the individual purchase of health insurance, then the government should stop doing those things.  (But I am open to correction on this, for I do not know what the rationale for those laws is at the outset.)  But that should be part of a broader package of comprehensive health care reform.

Overall, I'm open to ideas that conservatives (including Cain) have proposed for health care reform: tort reform, allowing competition across state lines, health savings accounts, encouraging the individual purchase of health insurance, etc.  I think that they can make things better and somewhat cheaper, but I'm not sure that they would fully tackle the problem of high health care costs.

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