Kentucky senator Rand Paul appeared on “Morning Joe” today to explain his side of the story around reports that he and 3 other republican senators are not sufficiently pleased with the first draft of the Senate’s replacement for Obamacare. At the heart of Senator Paul’s complaint is that this proposed bill doesn’t sufficiently do away with many of the Obamacare regulations that caused the last/current plan to implode, which is what we are all living through right now. Paul says that the current proposal doesn’t do away with enough of the Obamacare mandates and most notably helps prop up the insurance companies who collectively earn billions in profits.
So what is Senator Paul’s proposed solutions? Paul had what appear to be a few interesting ideas, though likely not popular with most of the Left and some of the more “rhino” republicans: Get government out of the way. Senator Paul points out that health care is terribly inefficient because it is one of the only major industries where the consumer is totally disconnected from actually shopping for the best price on a particular product. He draws a comparison with how consumers are allowed to shop for lasik eye surgery, which is one of the few medical treatments that almost no insurance company covers and therefore consumers are free to openly shop around for the best price and those providers compete for those consumers’ business in more of an open market setting (vs government and insurance companies fixing prices and creating the rules). What is the outcome? Well Paul points out that the cost of lasik surgery has gone way down over the last 10-15 years, by over 300%. The reason? He says that because that service operates in more of a truly open/free market, the providers strive to come up with new technology and methods for providing the best service for the cheapest price much more rapidly than in a system that is highly regulated by government, and highly controlled by insurance companies.
So what can be done in our current model? Senator Paul suggests repealing the mandate found in Obamacare which requires the (long) list of service which every insurance plan must cover. As he refers to is, “make all plans legal again” and “remove government from the equation” as much as possible. Imagine being able to buy health insurance the same way we buy car insurance. With so many companies competing, and all sorts of different coverage plans available, consumers can get car insurance for very cheap, sometimes as cheap as $60/month. Senator Paul believes that if his proposals were added to the bill, to remove the most burdensome Obamacare regulations and to create a truly free market, consumers could see health care plans priced as cheap as $1/month (so about $30/mo).
While this may seem far-fetched that we could ever see $1/day health insurance plans, it is certainly an appealing thought and one which I think we’d all welcome if it could be pulled off.