27 Mar 1997 Steve Forbes Says “Seize the High Ground on Health Care!”
MEMORANDUM BY STEVE FORBES
March 27, 1997
TO: REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS AND CONSERVATIVE LEADERS
FROM: STEVE FORBES, HONORARY CHAIRMAN, AMERICANS FOR HOPE, GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY
SUBJECT: SEIZING THE HIGH GROUND ON HEALTH CARE
The GOP is about to be out-flanked again, this time on health care.
Millions of Americans fear they could be wiped out by major illness or tragic accident. Moreover, many Americans lack employer provided health insurance and don,t qualify for Medicaid. Especially gripping is the question: what happens to their children in an emergency? President Clinton and liberal Democrats are exploiting this legitimate concern to advance their scheme of a nationalized health care system.
Why are Republicans so determined to remain passive, defensive? Some are backing away from choice-expanding innovations like Medical Savings Accounts. The Hatch-Kennedy Kidcare bill creates a new, complicated, top-down federal health care entitlement paid for in part by tax increases. Why do Republicans let the statists occupy the high ground and stay on the offensive?
Republicans should seize the initiative and provide a vision for a Medicare Choice program and a complete and comprehensive free market health care insurance program. A health insurance program must give individuals and families genuine catastrophic health insurance. No more nightmares about financial ruin and bankruptcy for major illness and accidents. You are covered fully when your house burns down. Why not the same for medical catastrophes?
– Assure people of “last” dollar coverage in a major illness, which they need more than “first” dollar coverage. No more open ended liabilities.
– Genuine choice for health care providers. No more dictation from employers or federal bureaucrats.
– Restore the doctor-patient relationship by letting the patient, rather than third party payers, ultimately control his health care dollars.
– Allow full-blown MSAs for Medicare. This way, the beneficiaries will have better coverage. Today, most have to buy Medigap insurance because of the inadequacies of Part A & Part B.
– Make MSAs real in the general insurance market. Take away last year,s suffocating, kill-this-innovation-in-the-crib restrictions. Many carriers won’t offer MSAs as a result. Some 3,000 employers and the United Mine Workers offer MSA variations. Forbes magazine has done so for 5 years. Our expenses per employee are lower than they were in 1990 and no one is in managed care.
– Equalize tax treatment of individuals who buy health insurance with that of employers.
– Republicans should advocate a refundable tax credit for uninsured families to purchase catastrophic insurance, for those who don,t qualify for Medicaid.
Timid souls say that Clinton might veto MSAs or a refundable tax credit for health care. So what? Must we leave the field in the battle of ideas because we have an opponent?
Why do Congressional Republicans fear Clinton-Gore more than the Democrats do? Why are Republicans so afraid to take their case to the American people? Voters will rightly ask, “If you,re unwilling to advocate your principles and policies, why does the Republican Party exist?”