Consumers Who Keep Health Care Costs Down Should Be Rewarded

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Some members of Congress are pushing for health reform amendments that make sense on several levels: Give consumers more freedom to shop around for insurance policies, along with some financial incentive to keep costs low.

The WSJ reports on the proposed amendments, which as it stands now are unlikely to pass:

Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) is proposing amendments to the Senate bill that would give people who are eligible for coverage through their employer the option of buying cheaper coverage from the new insurance exchanges — and pocketing the difference.

The legislation, without the amendments, opens up the exchanges only to small businesses and to people who don’t have insurance through an employer.

Such amendments could save consumers—and the health care system as a whole—some serious money. Also, if the changes are added to reform efforts, many workers wouldn’t feel like they had to keep bad jobs strictly because of the health benefits. The amendments “would make insurance more portable, which would help people who wanted to leave their jobs to do something entrepreneurial.”

It’d be nice to have the option. Right now, a lot of workers feel trapped, intimidated by the prospect of leaving a job—even a crappy job—that comes with benefits.