KEVIN SMITH: Private sector measures, not government mandates, will lower health care costs
I believe there is something out there watching over us. Unfortunately it’s the government.
New Hampshire has traditionally been a great state to start a business and grow a business – large or small. As a state without a broad based income or sales tax, employees have the benefit of keeping more of their hard-earned money. It’s just as important, though, to make sure we keep business taxes low and costs down for companies as well. Corporations, partnerships and other business entities hire workers, invest capital here, and make our economy stronger. As governor, I’ll tackle the issues that raise the cost to do business in this state in order to grow our economy and create new jobs.
Last week, I outlined my plan to address the health insurance costs that all companies and individuals face. The cost of health care continues to increase at remarkable levels, despite Democrats’ prior attempts to impose limits on the insurance companies. Liberals like Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley don’t realize that the more government gets involved with health care, the more expensive it becomes and the more that rationing occurs – limiting services and coverage for the very consumers they are trying to help.
Instead of expanding government intrusion into this market, I want to bring more choices, more competition, and more flexibility into our health systems. In every market that these elements have been brought to bear you find lower costs and better services. We can no longer afford to ignore this economic reality.
As governor, I will oppose ObamaCare and its mandates on the states, and I will join the federal lawsuit to remove New Hampshire’s participation in the program and fight against any elements that may remain after the Supreme Court rules on the legislation this summer. This is government intervention at its worst and we need to defeat it.
I will also work with New Hampshire’s Insurance Commissioner and our Congressional Delegation to enact the necessary state and federal laws to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. This will foster more competition among our insurance carriers and drive down costs. There is no reason that New Hampshire, with one of the healthiest populations in the country, pays some of the highest premiums in the nation. Increased competition will lead to greater efficiency and more effective coverage than any mandate out of Concord.
Additionally, I’ll work with other governors in the region to form compact agreements that will allow multi-state purchasing of health coverage and services at reduced rates. Insurance is about spreading risk; the larger the pool, the lower the cost to share that risk. If we can identify a multi-state program that can lower the cost of health insurance for state employees, managed Medicaid or other state insurance pools while maintaining the level of service we expect, then it’s worth considering.
One of the biggest challenges for smaller companies in New Hampshire is the cost of offering health coverage to their employees. There are over 31,000 small businesses that employ workers in the state, accounting for 54% of private sector jobs. Many of which can’t afford to obtain health insurance for their employees due to a lack of alternatives insurance plans.
Over the years, Democrats in the legislature have distorted the market and raised prices by mandating coverage of specific services. In turn, this has made basic insurance plans virtually unaffordable for small companies. For example, why can’t a small business with only three employees obtain a plan that does not include certain coverages if it’s not needed and both the employer and employees are willing to opt-out? Some mandates can cost $500, $700 or $1000 more a month in premiums – that extra cost can easily mean the difference between having health insurance and not. Businesses (and individuals) should be able to structure an insurance plan that works for their situation, and health insurance companies should to be able to offer alternative plans at reduced costs by not requiring every plan to carry the same state mandated services.
Finally, I strongly support the current legislation that removes the antiquated Certificate of Need process in the state. By opening up the opportunities for health care providers to fill the needs of their patients without having to plead their case to an unelected state board we can expand services and better care for our citizens. Moreover, without these artificial barriers, we allow newer and better alternatives to find their niche, grow their business, and help drive down costs for everyone.
As Governor, I will fight to create an environment in which health insurance is more affordable. By opening up our health care market, we can drive down costs so that employers can invest in their companies, hire more employees, and offer workers greater access to health coverage.