Great op-ed by Zach Krajacic in the Christian Science Monitor yesterday:

Imagine how much automobile insurance would cost if it paid for all expenses associated with owning an automobile – oil changes, engine failures, worn-out tires, brakes, rust, and so on. The number of people who couldn’t afford car insurance would rise dramatically, and we would have a car insurance crisis in America.

That is the situation with healthcare. As health plans increasingly pay for almost every service or procedure, ameliorate our every discomfort, and succumb to every cultural whim and fad, the price of insurance continues to rise.

Health plans are paying for every imaginable benefit – while automobile insurers are not – because of both consumer demand and state mandates.

Krajacic’s health care cost diagnosis is dead-on. America’s runaway health care costs are largely due to World War II-era tax policies that anesthetize individuals to the true cost of the health care they receive and to state health insurance regulations that drive up the price of premiums.

A better, patient-centered approach to health care would ensure:

  • Individuals are the key decision-makers in the health care system.
  • Individuals buy and own their own health insurance coverage.
  • Individuals, not employers or government officials, would choose the health care coverage and level of coverage that they think best.
  • Individuals have a wide range of coverage choices.
  • Prices are transparent.
  • Individuals have the periodic opportunity to change health coverage.