Cascade has been a leader in promoting consumer-driven health care since before the term gained currency. Our 1995 conference on Medical Savings Accounts (now known as Health Savings Accounts) was the first held by any think tank in the country and featured the creator of MSAs, Dr. John Goodman, then with the National Center for Policy Analysis.
While Cascade applauds state experimentation in public policy, early on we published two reports critical of Oregon’s Medicaid experiment, The Oregon Health Plan, which was the nation’s first explicit attempt to ration health care for the poor. More recently (2010), we published a comprehensive analysis of the plan and its failures.
When Medical Savings Accounts were expanded into Health Savings Accounts and made a permanent part of federal policy, Cascade began writing and talking about how HSAs could help both the private and public sectors offer more consumer choice while restraining health care costs.
In 2002 Cascade published a comprehensive report, First Do No Harm, which outlined the history of American health care policy and described in detail eight myths that most people believe about health care economics.
One of the myths in First Do No Harm is that we would be better-off with a single-payer health system. Oregon voters soundly rejected such a proposal shortly after Cascade’s report was released. Apparently, Oregonians agreed that if you think paying for your own health care is too expensive, why would you believe that paying for each other’s health care is more affordable?
Cascade also has published papers debunking the belief that countries such as Great Britain and Canada have figured out how to provide cost-effective universal health care through their respective governments. In 2005 Canada’s Supreme Court rejected a key feature of the Canadian system when it said that “access to a waiting list is not access to health care.” Canada’s failure to deliver on its socialized health care promises should serve as fair warning for Americans who believe that we must adopt a similar system.
Cascade has also been following the debate and legal battle surrounding the national Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).
Cascade will continue to publish and speak about market-oriented ideas that can both expand health care access and control health care costs, leaving individuals free to make most of their own decisions in this very important area.