America's independent, non-partisan advocate for overburdened taxpayers.


NTU Supports H.R. 2355 the Health Care Choice Act

May 12, 2005

Honorable John Shadegg
United States House of Representatives
306 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Shadegg:

On behalf of the 350,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to offer our strong support for your legislation, the Health Care Choice Act. By allowing consumers to purchase health care from out-of-state providers, this legislation would greatly expand the number of health care choices available to consumers, thus reducing health insurance costs and helping the millions of Americans now lacking health insurance find coverage.

With taxpayers and private entities being forced to bear most of the $125 billion cost of providing health care for U.S. citizens who have no insurance, this year, reducing the number of uninsured in a way that both respects the free market and improves consumer choices is an important goal indeed. The Health Care Choice Act simply opens up restricted state markets and gives consumers additional choices ? without the creation of yet another federal program or bureaucracy.

Health insurance can be costly enough, but the accumulation of more than 1,500 benefit mandates on insurance companies to cover services like hair prosthesis (wigs) and infertility treatments, not to mention treatments by acupuncturists and massage therapists, has only driven costs higher. Worse, consumers ? even those needing only ?bare bones? insurance policies ? are forced to pay for dozens of benefits for which they have no need (or go uninsured) because they cannot look outside their own state for health insurance.

The Health Care Choice Act would harness the power of the marketplace on behalf of consumers in three important ways. By giving consumers access to a broader range of options, consumers will have more choices at lower costs. By spurring competition among state policymakers, states will have incentives to create the most consumer-friendly regulatory structures and enforcement regimes possible. Lastly, by creating a robust, nationwide health insurance market, it is only natural to expect some efficiency of scale and innovative business models. These developments in turn, could drive prices lower, increase competition, and enhance the level of service in the health insurance marketplace.

NTU strongly supports Congressional efforts to make health insurance less expensive for Americans through the free market. We look forward to working closely with you to pass this important piece of legislation.


Paul J. Gessing
Director of Government Affairs