Trump Took a Big Step Toward Personal and Portable Health Insurance
An Alternative to Obamacare is Already Halfway There
In an ideal world, most people would own their own health insurance and take it with them as they travel from job to job and in and out of the labor market. Some employers might have better insurance than people can find in the open market. But most employers would prefer to make a cash contribution to help employees pay their own premiums in lieu of providing insurance directly.
As explained in John Goodman’s post at Forbes, the Trump administration is making that happen. As of January 1, employers can now enable their employees to obtain their own coverage with pre-tax dollars.
The Goodman Institute has promoted this idea in many forums – in editorials, in publications, in legislation and in advice to members of Congress. Other than support from our good friend at the Independent Institute, the issue has been largely ignored by other think tanks.
In the last several years, the only Republican plan to reform Obamacare that included personal and portable insurance and health status insurance was a bill sponsored by former House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions and Sen. Bill Cassidy (with large input from John Goodman). Reforms endorsed by the Republican leadership consistently ignored this idea. Clearly the president is leading, while Congress follows or acquiesces.
So, what’s next?
In most places, the individual market is a mess. Thanks to Obamacare, premiums have doubled, deductibles have tripled, and provider networks look like Medicaid managed care with a high deductible.
The administration is predicting that 11 million employees will own their own insurance as a result of the president’s actions. The actual number could be more than 100 million if the individual market offered insurance that was similar to group insurance in price, quality and access to care.
What Trump and the Congress must now do is give the states the power to make this possible. That would produce a radical transformation of the health care marketplace.
At the Goodman Institute we have been thinking about how to empower the states to do this for quite some time.