Zachary Gappa
With the future of the Affordable Care Act resting on the decision of the Supreme Court as early as next week, the future of American health care generally is up in the air. If the Act (or significant portions of it) is struck down, there will be a legislative rush to erect something new from its rubble. Unfortunately, hasty legislation is often bad legislation, so we need to consider alternatives now.

The Affordable Care Act is based on the belief that our current system of health care is a mess and only the government can fix it efficiently. This unfortunate assumption will do nothing but entrench government even deeper into the daily lives of Americans. We can see this clearly in the Act’s individual mandate – the requirement that every American purchase health insurance or pay a fine.

There are plenty of alternative reforms that would improve our system without expanding government. Of course, many of them would depend on individuals, hospitals, doctors, and even insurance companies recognizing the need for change and taking action themselves. Tort reform or interstate insurance competition (the two common Republican suggestions) won’t be enough, and tax credits won’t solve the underlying problems. Without real changes, big government will inevitably step in to “fix” the system. The skyrocketing costs of health care demand change.

So, what are these “real” alternatives? Here are a few possibilities:

Attempting to buy individual insurance is an exhausting, painstaking, often exorbitantly-expensive endeavor. This is “solved” by buying insurance as part of a group. The group spreads out the risk, lowering the average premium cost. The trouble is, these group plans are typically run through employers. With our current high unemployment and increasing diversity of job types (independent contractors, a myriad of part-time jobs, etc.), it is increasingly difficult to make sure people receive their insurance through their employers.

Zachary Gappa

Zachary Gappa is Managing Editor at the John Jay Institute Center for a Just Society and Operations Manager at Gappa Security Solutions.