Finally, all exchanges should be required to clearly and simply label plans that are eligible for health savings accounts. This would likely require simplification of existing HSA rules at the federal level, while allowing anyone to build up, tax free, money to set aside against future health care costs. (To equalize the tax treatment of health care spending, people should also be allowed to pay premiums out of their HSAs.)
Over time, these changes would help transform the health insurance market into a truly individual market, where plans would have to compete to keep your business and individuals would have an incentive to stay with plans offering the best care at the best price. On issues like pre-existing conditions, both parties already agree there is no going back to the pre-Obamacare status quo. President Obama has already re-written large swaths of the law through executive fiat. After November, Congress should recognize the “facts on the ground” and offer millions more families more affordable coverage options. Neither party will be able to claim total victory, but both could claim that they were fixing the law’s most pressing flaws. The rest of the debate can be settled in 2016.
Paul Howard is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.