We want affordable healthcare that empowers us to make decisions.

Laws should be judged on their effect, not the good intentions of the lawmakers. A case and point: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010, has actually eroded patient protections and made health insurance less affordable.

Instead of reducing the cost of insurance, insurance premiums have gone up. Instead of increasing insurance options, the law has reduced them. Since the law was enacted, one in eight small businesses has dropped insurance coverage for employees because of rising costs. Colleges and universities that previously offered low-cost, minimum level health insurance plans for their students are having to raise premiums or drop coverage altogether because the new health care law outlaws these types of plans. The Galen Institute found that as many as 20 million Americans may lose the health insurance they get from their employers.

Especially in an economic downturn, people cannot afford to lose their insurance or pay higher costs. While much of the news has focused on the billions it costs to administer the law and Constitutional questions, what matters to most people is the higher premiums and, even worse, the loss of coverage. However well-meaning the legislators, the law must be replaced with a law that lowers costs and provides greater options.

The first step is to give individuals who purchase insurance on their own the same tax advantage as those who get their insurance through their workplace.

Does it ever seem strange that Americans buy their own car insurance and home or renters insurance policies, but get their health insurance through their work? Individuals have a narrow range of options because their employer chooses the insurers. If the employee leaves or is laid off, she loses her insurance and must quickly get a new job with insurance benefits, pay for costly COBRA insurance, seek government insurance or go without insurance. The individual would not face this tough decision if she had her own policy.

If Congress enacted legislation to give tax credits to individuals to purchase health insurance, Americans could choose among many plans and would be able to keep their insurance even if they changed jobs or were unemployed.

Did you know that the government will control 50 percent of healthcare spending if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remains in force?