(1) FREEDOM to choose our own doctors. Health care is very personal, and no federal or insurance bureaucracy should interfere. Each American should be able to secure the services of a doctor who respects his moral beliefs.
(2) FREEDOM from an impersonal and bureaucratic health-care system. The regulatory systems governing health care should be simplified to allow more choices for more people. Individuals should have greater access to more health-care plans, and health-care dollars should be controlled by individuals and families, not employers or the government.
(3) FREEDOM to choose health plans that reflect their moral beliefs. Ethical and moral issues are inseparable from healthcare. All Americans have a personal stake in these life-and-death decisions, and they should have financial control over these decisions so that they may act in accordance with their personal beliefs.
(4) FREEDOM to pick a plan without government penalties. State and federal governments should stop using the tax code to play favorites between health plans. If every person had a refundable, individual health-care tax credit, he would be truly financially free to choose the health plan that’s best for him.
The Heritage experts also recommend replacing the highly regulated state health insurance markets with a single statewide market. Through it, employers could contribute a defined amount to the health plans their employees designate, and plans would compete for these dollars. Congress could allow Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, just as they buy many other goods and services.
In addition, policymakers should let values-driven health plans participate in public programs. Health plans sponsored by religious organizations should be allowed to participate in Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, just as they do in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
“Conscience,” says David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical Association, “is the most sacred of all property.” It’s time we changed our health-care system accordingly -- and made ethical, consumer-driven insurance a reality.