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However, federal and state governments would still provide any benefits currently under Medicaid/SCHIP not currently provided under such Blue Cross basic plans, so no poor person under Medicaid or SCHIP will receive anything less under the HAA. But they will be treated the same as rich people when they seek medical care - a revolutionary concept that both liberals and conservatives are embracing.

So how does the HAA produce a net surplus of revenues, and thus, reduce the federal deficit, after the first two years?

First, Uncle Sam gets more revenues under the HAA because the amount of the new health insurance “standard” deduction under the HAA would grow at the rate of the general consumer price index (CPI) price inflation, and not at the higher medical inflation rate that increases the cost to the federal government of the current non-taxed insurance premiums paid on behalf of employees.

Second, the value of covered benefits under the minimal requirement of the Blue Cross federal employee/congressional plan would be increased only as does the rise in the per capita gross domestic product, rather than the higher level of health care inflation. Minimally, estimates say that would slow the growth of health spending by 1 percent to 2 percent per year. Remember, Mr. Obama said even if we reduced the inflation in health care costs by “one-tenth of 1 percent per year,” that could result in trillions of dollars of savings.

Finally, additional savings for Uncle Sam and the rest of us in health care costs would come from significant structural reforms under the HAA. These include requiring insurance for wellness and chronic-disease management; incentives for cheaper high-deductible policies combined with variants of today’s health savings accounts; requiring all insurance companies to maintain electronic medical records; transparent state market exchanges, with customer-friendly “help” agencies in each state.

If it is too late to adopt the full HAA because none of the House or Senate committees gave it serious consideration (for reasons that utterly escape me), then the full Senate should consider the “Free Choice” amendment from Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat.

Mr. Wyden’s amendment is quite simple: It would allow the 150 million employees who are stuck with the plan offered by their employers to opt out, get a cash payment or voucher, and go shopping, knowing that, at the very least, they can purchase a federal employee/ congressional-type plan.

My question to all House and Senate members and specifically, to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Why not let this Free Choice amendment be debated and voted on?

Everyone reading this column should ask their members of Congress that question.

Lanny J. Davis, a Washington lawyer and former special counsel to President Clinton, served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. He is the author of “Scandal: How ‘Gotcha’ Politics is Destroying America.” This piece is also published at