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  Three Free Fixes For Health Care Costs  

Three things Congress can do right now to fix health care...at no cost to taxpayers and without a government power grab.

In deciding to engage full-time by going on the road to push a radical and expensive "public option" to American taxpayers, President Obama is clearly worried over the direction of the health care debate. Republicans in Congress should be applauded for standing firm over the need to deliberate, discuss and debate over such a personal and economically impacting issue such as health care especially their vigilance against any plan that could lead to a government-run health care. The President's frustration stems from government bean counters and their bureaucratic overlords in Congress who say government-run health care will cost around $1 trillion, with no guarantee that those costs will ever come down. (When have government costs ever come down?) In fact, a recent Rassmussen survey showed that 45% of Americans believed that it would actually INCREASE costs opposed to only 19% who said it would lower them.

Amazingly, the Obama Administration has even indicated that it is willing to break the President's campaign tax pledge to overhaul health care. Convincing Americans to cough up a minimum of one trillion dollars for something that is supposed to lower costs is going to be a tough sell, even for this President. While the President is right to focus on reducing health care costs, Republicans and free market advocates should continue to be outspoken that the "public option," and other government overhauls of health care will only lead to increase costs and bureaucrats making health care decisions rather than patients and doctors.

If President Obama and Congress want to lower costs as we all do, there are many ways to lower costs and improve our health care system for patients and they don't cost a dime, nor do they require a complete government takeover of the health care system. Here are three of the most obvious needed reforms that will improve our health care system and lead to lower costs:

Give the same tax break to individuals that employers receive

Under the current system, people with employer-paid benefits don't have to pay taxes on those benefits. But self-insured people (many of them self-employed which is one of the few growing sectors of the economy) receive no such tax break. Making the system fair for everyone also puts money back in the pockets of taxpayers, lowering their health insurance costs.

Make it easy to file insurance claims with a standardized form

This is a simple solution to one of the most frustrating problems in the health care system - too much paperwork. Requiring all insurance companies to accept a single, standardized claim form would reduce the workload on both patients and doctors. Less paperwork means less wasted time - and lower costs for everyone.

Require providers to post prices and outcomes

When we go to a store to buy milk and bread, we can easily see which brands cost more and which cost less. It should be the same way with health care. Requiring doctors and hospitals to post their prices and their results would allow patients to shop around for the best use of their health care dollars.

None of these three reforms would cost taxpayers a dime, and none of them would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship or lead to government-run health care. And all three of these simple reforms have overwhelming support from 87% of American voters. Yet the President and his allies in Congress continue to march down the path toward a radical, massive and extremely expensive government intervention in health care, where patients will pay more, and their choices will be governed by bureaucrats.

By advocating these three reforms, Republicans and free market health care advocates will offer real health reforms that will benefit patients through lower costs, better care, competition and preserving patient choice without raising taxes to pay for trillion dollar government run health care schemes that lead to higher costs and put bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions.

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