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Some Republican Ideas for Health Care Reform

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-- Lawsuit reform: It makes no sense to ignore one of the biggest cost drivers in the system -- the cost of defensive medicine, largely driven by lawsuits. Worse, many doctors have stopped performing high-risk procedures for fear of liability.

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-- Require coverage of preexisting conditions: Insurance should not be least accessible when it is needed most. Companies should be incentivized to focus on delivering high-quality effective care, not to avoid covering the sick.

-- Transparency and payment reform: Consumers have more information when choosing a car or restaurant than when selecting a health-care provider. Provider quality and cost should be plainly available to consumers, and payment systems should be based on outcomes, not volume. Today's system results in wide variations in treatment instead of the consistent application of best practices. We must reward efficiency and quality.

-- Electronic medical records: The current system of paper records threatens patient privacy and leads to bad outcomes and higher costs.

-- Tax-free health savings accounts: HSAs have helped reduce costs for employers and consumers. Some businesses have seen their costs decrease by double-digit percentages. But current regulations discourage individuals and small businesses from utilizing HSAs.

-- Reward healthy lifestyle choices: Providing premium rebates and other incentives to people who make healthy choices or participate in management of their chronic diseases has been shown to reduce costs and improve health.


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