I criticized her recently. Today I must praise her. Her column, which appeared in Town Hall yesterday and in some newspapers today, is a very good summary of the Utah health care plan developed under Governor Jon Huntsman. That's a plan I never heard of before.
She goes into what it is, why it is, and how it differs from ObamaCare in fact and in developmental process. If nothing else, it could serve as a Republican alternative, a better one than MassCare. Heh. She also touched on the possibility that Huntsman was chosen to be the Ambassador to China in order to get him as far away from the Health Care debate as possible, then fairly adds that his Chinese language skills make him an ideal Ambassador as well.
Briefly, she points out that UtahCare (I don't know if they will call it that--it doesn't go into effect until this fall, so of course we also don't know if it will work) addresses the real problems of both health care and health insurance. It attacks the expense of insurance coverage for the working poor by creating
an exchange focused on improving insurance options for them and leaves alone those with good insurance today. And the exchange facilitates consumer choice based on price transparency, not government regulation and control.
One reform, for example, creates portable coverage -- insurance policies that workers can take with them when they leave or change jobs and that can be paid for with pre-tax dollars. Utah consumers also can pick the insurance program that best suits them, taking into consideration cost and level of benefits needed. To assist, the state launched a Web site where consumers can compare policies, pricing and financing, and sign up electronically -- all in one place.
And she follows with a contrast to the Obama approach of posing the Health Care situation as a crisis, requiring the adoption of the very first solution proposed--
Not surprisingly, Utah's plan resulted from months of research, consensus-building and meetings among legislators, health care providers, insurers, businesses and community members. It hasn't happened quickly, in other words -- nor is the process over. A few problems have been resolved using the best free-market principles, while others will be tackled down the road.
That is to say, health care is complicated and reform takes time.
As noted, we don't yet know just what will happen in the Utah Experimental Laboratory. Maybe they'll fail as Massachusetts and Hawaii did. But Parker sums the principles up very well.
Compared to what's being trotted around the Asylum On The Hill, Utah's bipartisan reform project sounds downright dreamy. Simple and geared toward the consumer, it was designed under the operating principle that Americans are capable of making their own decisions, whereas the Obama plan presumes that only government can solve the problem.
Kathleen Parker, I salute you. If the purpose of the free press is to inform, you have succeeded admirably.