The Galen Institute works on public policy ideas that:
- Allow consumers to choose their own doctors so that they are in charge of medical decisions
- Give workers freedom from the fear that losing a job may mean losing health insurance
- Encourage research and innovation to find more cures and better treatments for illnesses
- Provide broader access to new and better medical treatments
- Embrace the use of new health care information technologies
- Reduce costs based upon competition, not price controls
Opportunities in an Election Year
During a presidential election year, the public is keenly focused on issues that affect the quality of their lives and well-being. Americans are trying to get insight into the candidates’ beliefs and policy ideas, as well as gain insights into their ability to lead our nation in the future.
Consequently, health care policy has gained increasing attention in public debates. This is a fresh opportunity to educate citizens on the importance of the decisions that will be made and how the outcomes will impact them. Moreover, it gives us an entrée to make our case for the value of consumer-directed health solutions. The election season also presents us with the chance to inform candidates and the media about health policy options and to offer them insights into the companies that are leading the charge for change.
The Galen Institute is actively involved with all these audiences as we advance 21st century solutions that embrace freedom and consumer choice.
Policy leaders also rely on our fact-driven research and innovative ideas to gain insights into policy, and we work with them to formulate free-market solutions. We also provide advice to many of the major presidential candidates and their staffs to help them develop policy options. We believe that by establishing relationships with the campaigns now we will maintain our access and influence with the future leaders of this country on health care reform.
Galen carries out these ideas through:
1. Policy Initiatives
Tax reform and the uninsured
It is no coincidence that the United States offers the highest-quality health care in the world and that it repeatedly has turned its back on a government-run health system. The challenge for the twenty-first century is to modernize out-of-date policy decisions to make high-quality health care accessible and affordable for all Americans. One of the keys is tax reform.
Today, the tax code provides a generous, yet highly invisible, subsidy for the health insurance that more than 175 million Americans receive through the workplace. This tax benefit is worth more than $200 billion in tax savings to working Americans and their families.
Even with this generous subsidy, tens of millions of people go without coverage because they either can’t afford the health insurance offered by their employers or coverage is not offered on their jobs.
To rectify this inequity, Galen sponsors research and educational programs on the crucial intersection of health and tax policy. We advocate making refundable, advanceable tax credits directly available to uninsured individuals to help them purchase the private health coverage that best suits their needs.
We also work to educate the public about a new type of health care arrangement that will allow consumers to control their routine health spending while still having protection from catastrophic expenses. Putting power and money into the hands of consumers will transform the health care market-place to make it responsive to their demands for lower costs and greater value. This truth is universal: Whoever controls the money controls the choices.
Medicare and prescription drugs
Galen has developed a free-market idea for a unique Prescription Drug Security plan. The plan would provide financial incentives for consumers to make cost-conscious decisions about their routine drug purchases while offering protection against large drug costs. It gives them a choice of coverage options and sets up an administrative infrastructure that could provide the foundation for a competitive Medicare program. By giving consumers and not government control over decisions, innovation will be encouraged in research, benefits, and services.
Health care deregulation
The Galen Institute conducts research on the effects of state and federal regulation on costs, access to coverage, consumer choice, and innovation in medicine and insurance coverage. Our research shows that health insurance costs rise under the burden of increased federal and state regulation. This makes health coverage even harder for individuals to afford and drives up the number of uninsured as health insurers abandon the market in the most heavily regulated states. Lifting these regulatory and legislative burdens is crucial to the evolution of a more vital, consumer-driven market in the health sector.
2. Coalition Building
We bring a unique approach to public policy research, serving as a broker of ideas for the top experts in the market-based policy community. The Galen Institute plays a critical ole in leveraging the expertise of health policy experts at the federal and local levels.
We coordinate and facilitate the work of the Health Policy Consensus Group -a non-partisan task force of more than 30 leading health care economists, health policy analysts, and researchers primarily from the major market-oriented think tanks.
The Consensus Group presents an opportunity for top health policy analysts with different ideological views to reason together and then to speak with a unified voice on health care reform.
The Galen Institute produced a peer-reviewed book, Empowering Health Care Consumers through Tax Reform, with chapters on a market-driven system written by members of the Consensus Group.
As a result of these and many other activities, proactive solutions are being discussed in Congress to inject free-market ideas into the federal health policy debate.
We also work actively with the states and with state-based research organizations to distribute our research and help them to develop policy proposals to address their individual challenges.
3. Communications & Outreach
The results of Galen Institute research are distributed to the public, the media, and policymakers through virtually every communications channel we can muster. We organize conferences, testify before Congress, organize editorial board meetings, conduct media interviews, and speak frequently at conferences around the United States and the world. Some of our specific products include:
Galen email alerts. Our regular email alerts provide up-to-the-minute commentary on health policy events, distribute news articles and writings from Consensus Group participants, and present announcements of upcoming events. Our growing list of thousands of subscribers includes members of Congress and their staffs, administration officials, health care reporters, health policy experts and academics around the country, physicians, state-based think tanks, and many others in and outside the health care field.
Books, papers, commentary articles. Our commentary articles are published virtually every week in major newspapers around the country, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Houston Chronicle, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Our articles also have been published in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, and we are quoted regularly in newspapers and news magazines across the country.