A. I am opposed to a government sponsored health care system. As Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem.” Part of the problem with our current health care system is the cost shifting necessitated because Medicare and Medicaid cover such a small portion of actual costs. Forcing more Americans into a universal Medicare system only exacerbates this problem. Study after study has indicated that the programs currently being debated in Congress will force more Americans off of their private health insurance programs and into the government program. This will drive up costs for private insurance plans and eventually bankrupt them. In the end, the result would be a bloated government entity rife with bureaucrats and paperwork that could only meet its goals of reducing costs by rationing and providing an inferior product. We need only look to the health care systems in Canada or Great Britain to see evidence of this. I support Republican proposals such as allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines, tort reform, and Medical Savings Accounts to reduce costs. Health insurance costs vary dramatically from state to state, largely because of state mandated coverage required in many locales. Allowing competition across state lines and eliminating these costly mandates will reduce costs for most people. Why should a healthy, young, single person be required to purchase an insurance package that covers such items as marriage counseling and hair replacement if they do not want these items? In many states, folks have no choice. People should be able to shop for the insurance that meets their needs and budgets with catastrophic care included to meet unforeseen events. Tort reform will also reduce costs. Limiting jury awards to actual damages and eliminating outrageous punitive damages for pain and suffering will dramatically lower malpractice insurance costs. An additional benefit will be the reduction in cost achieved by the elimination of unnecessary testing associated with defensive medicine. I also support Medical Savings Accounts and the expansion of these instruments for health insurance. The MSAs introduce a true market to health care that includes the acknowledgement on the part of the insured that they must take responsibility for their own health. Once people are responsible for managing costs themselves, and rewarded for finding savings through these tax-free savings accounts, they will change their behavior in ways that simply cannot occur in third-party payer systems.