Congressman Chris Cox pushes health care reform that would empower patients and hold down costs.

WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform praises Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) for introducing H.R. 1117, the Health Care Freedom of Choice Act. If enacted, this bill would be the vital first step to increasing patient choice in health decisions, expanding access, and holding down costs.

Rep. Cox\’s bill would grant every individual or family the right to write off from its income tax liability any health care expenses not covered by insurance. This change would restore balance to the system – employers and third-party payers have long been able to write off such expenses, shifting the insurance system away from the consumer and toward a centralized, bureaucratic mess.

"Chris Cox\’s bill is power to the people at its finest!" said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "The doctor-patient relationship is vital to quality care. For too long, employers have forced workers to enlist in one-size-fits-all health plans that remove patient choice and remove all market incentives. By making individual health coverage more affordable, consumers will be able to shop for the best care at the best price, improving service and containing costs at the same time."

Federal law has been stacked against individual health care since World War II. In the aftermath of war, wage controls still were in force. Since companies could not raise pay, they piled on new and more expensive health benefits to attract top employees. The cost of this insurance could be written off as a cost of doing business. Since insurance provided by employers had a tax advantage while private insurance didn\’t, the health care market was biased away from individuals, choice, and competition. Extending tax deductibility to individuals will end that bias.

"When consumers control the money and doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies have to compete for business, quality and price will go up," Norquist continued. "By ending the bias against individualized health care and making care more affordable to working families, Rep. Cox is advancing the cause of health reform better than any government program could. Market solutions are always better than government micro-management."