Just days before the GOP primary debate in California, state legislators voted down Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $15 billion health care proposal. Since health care is the third most important issue for voters (behind economic growth and the war in Iraq) and failures like Schwarzenegger’s mean the health care debate will shift to Washington, now is a good time to review what a conservative health care plan ought to look like.

The principle idea behind a conservative approach to health care reform is to expand personal ownership and control of health care insurance and transfer control of health care dollars to individuals and families. Instead of the increased regulation and subsidies that the left favors, conservatives prefer serious reforms in current tax and insurance law that will restore market principles to the far from free market in health care our country currently suffers under. At the federal level Congress can:

  • Create a federal health care tax credit that offers the same tax benefit for buying health insurance on the individual market that is currently only available through an employer.
  • Allow people to own their own health insurance by removing the tax and regulatory penalties that prevent them from keeping their existing coverage when then change jobs.
  • Remove the statutory prohibitions and the tax and regulatory penalties that apply when indidviduals and families want to buy health insurance sold in another state.

The left wants to try and fix health care by building off the World War II era system of employer based health care access, increased regulation, and new mandates. This backward looking approach will only drive insurance premiums higher and decrease consumer consumer choice. Our country works best when citizens are making the choices that affect their lives. Only conservative principles on health care can remove the policies and regulations that restrict personal choice.

Quick Hits:

  • Progressives claim to support the troops, but the Berkeley City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday night to tell the U.S. Marines that they are not welcome in the city” and that if they do stay “they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” The council vote comes ahead of a ballot measure in Berkeley that would apply the same zoning restrictions enforced against pornographic stores to all military recruitment offices.
  • A federal judge threw out a law suit against the Army Corps of Engineers claiming their failure to drain canal walls led to the Hurricane Katrina flooding. Nearly 500,000 New Orleanians filed claims totaling more than $3 quadrillion in damages.
  • New Homeland Security regulations mean U.S. and Canadian citizens will no longer be able to use verbal declarations to enter the country. Instead, passengers will have to present both photo identification and proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate.