The need for transparency and options in healthcare is more apparent now than any other time in recent history. I support changes to our state system that will allow for costs, pricing, and services options to be readily available and easily accessible to the consumer via a public database. The second part of this plan introduces incentives and support for decreased liability for providers, allowing patients to decline or request specific tests, services, procedures based on the advice of the provider and their own desires.  Iowa must also offer an “emergency only” health insurance coverage option, similar to the varying liability and full coverage options we have for car insurance. For example, a young and healthy college student may evaluate and assess their health needs and financial situation, determining that they are comfortable with and desire a lower cost coverage that aids in emergency health situations only. This plan would include additional provisions for expanding/creating a state level HSA health investment options as well. The final piece to this plan is providing support for doctors and providers who are operating clinics outside of health insurance requirements, accepting cash only options. This allows greater access to all individuals who choose not to purchase full health coverage and instead save individually for medical costs. Providing a framework in our state for such options will not only relieve the inflated costs of health insurance that many struggle with, but will also put the power back where it belongs; in the hands of the consumer.

To achieve these goals, the first step is to remove laws in our state preventing any insurance company from selling to that community. Every insurance company that sells in Iowa must offer an emergency only plan as a viable option. This plan would be similar to a car insurance policy that does not cover routine oil changes or tire rotation, but does cover accidents. In the same way, emergency only health insurance coverage would not cover preventative or ongoing care, but would be used in accident or unexpected illness, such as falling off a roof and breaking a bone. 

The second step in this process would be to facilitate more choice in doctor’s offices and hospitals.  In Iowa, there are regulations dictating the number of hospitals that are allowed to operate per capita. The practice of artificially limiting hospital options and access is unreasonable and detrimental. As a former paramedic, I have been in situations where there is only on emergency room available when driving a patient from Mason City to Des Moines. This is a hazard when driving patients across our state. For example, the city of Ankeny has and continues to expand and grown, both geographically and in population. Logically, Ankeny should have its own hospital.  Under current Iowa law, building a hospital in Ankeny is prohibited.  We must remove such laws that negatively impact the health options and access to care for Iowans.

An important aspect to this healthcare plan involves tax incentives to encourage providers who give various options and choices to patients; One example of this is the co-op model where a monthly fee is charged but insurance is not needed or accepted.  Specifically, Atlas in Kansas City has utilized this model.   To decrease and maintain lower costs and rates in medical care, frivolous lawsuits brought against providers can and should be discouraged by implementing an additional cost to file when and if the suit is deemed to be without merit. With fewer lawsuits, providers will be able to decrease the cost of their own liability coverage, thereby passing along the savings to the consumer. Along with these options, medical providers in our state must be required by laws to make all prices public for all services. As consumers, Iowans have the right to full transparency in healthcare costs before agreeing to any service. State level tax incentives for HSA contributions must also be supported and implemented. 

With these steps, we will create a pathway for an individual with low medical needs to save money on health insurance while having the opportunity to invest their savings into their own personal health and future. This plan gives the power back to individuals to determine where and how they would like to spend their money in prioritizing their own health. This spectrum of choice does still include the option to maintain private insurance as well.