I’m strongly in favor of having a free market healthcare system and will advocate for free market healthcare as a state senator. In my opinion, our country hasn’t had a free market healthcare system for a long time. Even prior to Obamacare, there were far too many government controls and mandates within our nation’s healthcare system. When you look at graphs of the cost of healthcare and health insurance from the 1960’s to the current time, the cost of healthcare and health insurance has risen exponentially. Prior to the federal government’s involvement in healthcare in the early 1960’s, the cost of healthcare and health insurance was just a fraction of what the cost is today. Government mandates, regulations, and spending programs have resulted in far higher healthcare and health insurance costs.
One free market healthcare reform that I’m advocating at the state level is the expansion of association healthcare plans. A model for this type of healthcare reform was seen in the last legislative session with the passage of the Farm Bureau healthcare plan. This was a healthcare plan that wasn’t required to abide by the mandates set forth in Obamacare. By not being required to abide by these mandates and regulations, Farm Bureau will now be able to offer health insurance to their employees at a reduced cost. I believe we should take the Farm Bureau model and apply it to all voluntary associations in our state. If all associations in our state were allowed to circumvent the Obamacare mandates and regulations and were allowed to offer an alternative healthcare plan for their employees, that would increase competition and result in reduced healthcare costs in our state.
In addition, we should look to pass a law which would allow nurse practitioners to practice independently. Currently, nurse practitioners are required to enter into a collaborative agreement with a physician in order to practice. Often times they are required to pay a significant amount of money in order to enter into these agreements. Passing a law giving a “full practice” status for nurse practitioners would do away with the collaborative agreement policy, allowing nurse practitioners to assess, diagnose, interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications independently. Currently, 23 states have passed these full practice laws, and these states have had great results with this policy. This policy has led to reduced healthcare costs and improved access to healthcare in the states that have passed this law. I believe that implementing these types of free market reforms in our state is a better alternative than expanding government programs.