Mr. President, let me first say thank you and congratulations, on behalf of the market-based policy community, for the health policy initiatives you announced in your State of the Union Address this year. The policies are bold and innovative, and they create an exciting new conversation in the policy debate. Organizations as diverse at The Heritage Foundation and the Urban Institute and The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal all are saying that you are right in tackling the central issue of the tax treatment of health insurance. It is good policy and thank you for your leadership.
This idea sharpens the debate between those who believe that the answer to the problems in the health sector lies in much more government involvement through expansion of public programs, and those who believe that the free market can and does have much more potential to get health insurance costs down and to provide people with greater access to coverage and more choices.
Your generous standard deduction for health insurance would give people an incentive to shop for value and would give the health insurance industry an incentive to create more attractive products. Your plan also would encourage states to create new options for people to purchase affordable coverage.
Incentives work and competition works. Your plan would engage the power of consumers to transform our health sector to become more efficient, more responsive to consumer needs, and more affordable.
Click here for a transcript and video of President Bush’s remarks.