Policy Initiatives:

Private Health Reform

The Mission

To inform and develop policies that restore the rights and ability of Americans to control their health finances and make cost-conscious decisions, leading innovators to develop services and products that best meet Americans’ needs and improve health care and health.

Director, Private Health Reform Initiative

Theo Merkel

Theo Merkel is the Director of the Private Health Reform Initiative and a Senior Research Fellow for the Paragon Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Previously, Theo served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Council in the White House (2019-2020). In addition to his work in the executive branch, Theo worked for his home state Senator Pat Toomey for a decade, most recently as Legislative Director.

Guiding Principles
  • Empowered individuals with good incentives and accurate information will lead to productivity-enhancing innovation, making health care cheaper, better, and more accessible.
  • Americans’ general lack of financial control over their health care, combined with a lack of transparency of price and quality, results in significant wasteful spending.
  • Excessive bureaucracy—often driven by government—adds unnecessary costs and increases frustration for patients, providers, and nearly every other medical supplier.
  • Government often imposes harmful restrictions that prevent providers from best meeting patient needs and from adjusting capacity to meet community needs.
  • Innovation should be responsive to real patient needs instead of reacting principally to government reimbursements.

Bringing it to life.

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Goal 1.

Enhance the Control that Americans Have Over Their Health Care.
Increase individuals’ and families’ options for choosing health coverage and care that works best for them by eliminating restrictions on coverage and eliminating barriers that exist between patients and health care providers and products.

Expand individuals’ and families’ control over their own health care resources, by expanding health savings accounts, reducing third-party payment, and developing price and meaningful quality transparency measures.

Reform health care subsidies that cause excessive low-value health spending.

Goal 2.

Reduce Barriers to Beneficial Competition and Create a Climate for beneficial Innovation.
Reduce government barriers, rules, and bureaucracy that serve as unnecessary and counterproductive constraints and frustrations for health care providers.

Reduce government barriers that restrict pharmaceutical and medical device innovation and that protect incumbents from competition.

Ensure that innovators are developing products to best serve individuals and families, rather than focusing on maximizing reimbursement from government programs.
Ensure heavily consolidated health care markets are more contestable.
Recent Research Papers and Policy Briefs

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Paragon Health Institute (PHI) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit policy research institute. Any views, beliefs, or opinions expressed by PHI’s Public Advisors are those of its Advisors and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of PHI or its employees. Any views, beliefs, or opinions expressed by PHI or its employees belong solely to PHI and do not necessarily reflect those of PHI’s Public Advisors.