reasons health care is not doingwell right now, one of the rea-sons health inflation is so high,one of the reasons there are somany distortions in health care,one of the reasons millions of Americans don’t have access toaffordable insurance, is becausewe’ve displaced the fundamen-tal tenets of a free market. Whatare those tenets? Transparency on price, transparency on quali-ty, and an incentive to act onboth. Currently, you don’tknow what services cost, orwho’s good at providing themand who’s bad. Even if youknow such things, you’re told by your insurance company, HMO, orthe government where and whoyou have to go to to get your care.We don’t want to pick a modelwhere the government will ulti-mately be the single payer. Underthat model, you can contain costs,but it requires rationing care. TheInstitute of Comparative Effective-ness, created in the stimulus pack-age, is the bureaucracy throughwhich that rationing will take place,telling providers, doctors, andphysicians that enlightened bu-reaucrats will decide how best toachieve efficiency and how best todeliver care in America. The only way to quantifiably lower costs is tolimit people’s access to health care.That’s not America. That’s not whowe are. It offends our sense of indi- vidual rights, of freedom and liber-ty and choice.Can we fix the problems inhealth care without going down thispath? Yes. That’s exactly what we areattempting to do with the Patients’Choice Act. The Act recognizes thetax distortion that exists, a distor-tion that helped give rise to ourthird-party payment system. It’swhat helped give rise to the systemthat took the individual out of thegame and took the consumer out of the game. We want to equalize taxtreatment so we get the individualback in the game. We want the indi- vidual to be at least as powerful asthe other players in health care.We’re not saying, like some Democ-rats are, that we should tax healthbenefits and send the money to thegovernment to build a new systemand have new mandates and a new public-plan option. We’re saying:“Let’s equalize tax treatment. Let’stake the tax benefit and delink itfrom the job and reattach it to theworker, so that everybody, regard-less of how they get their health in-surance, receives the benefit.” Whatmakes our bill different from every other on this issue is that the tax
Ifwe do go down thepath toward a publicoption, it will inevitably,mathematically,actuarially, becomea government-runmonopoly.