by Bulletin News

Business Economists Back Current Fed Policy, Urge Consumer Directed Health Care Reform.The National Association for Business Economists this morning released the findings of a survey of its members on economic policy issues, finding that significant majorities believe current monetary policy is about right and that the current health care system needs dramatic reform in a market-oriented direction. Among the findings released today are:

  • 68% believe current monetary policy is "about right"; 9% said it is too restrictive; 23% said it is too simulative.


  • 49% said current fiscal policy is about right; 40% said it is too simulative.


  • 21% said "excessive growth in government spending/growing federal deficit" is the most serious problem facing the US economy today; 16% said unemployment; 13% said international military operations/homeland defense; 10% said overcapacity.


  • 25% said productivity gains are the greatest strength of the current US economy; 18% said technological lead; 11% said flexible labor markets; 12% said deep capital markets.


  • 57% said high cost was the most important health care issue to be addressed when asked to choose between cost and the reducing the ranks of the uninsured; 42% chose uninsured.


  • 44% said a Medicare drug benefit will improve the present Medicare program for retirees; 31% said it would not.


  • 63% expect the cost of the Medicare prescription drug benefit to exceed $400 billion.

Health Care. Commenting on the "special topic" health care policy survey, NABE issued a statement saying that "two-thirds of respondents felt the answer to the problems in our health care system needed to involve fundamental changes in both health care delivery and its financing." Furthermore, "There was an overwhelming response" among a health care panel "against government involvement; neither nationalizing the health care system nor government regulation of insurance premiums and drug prices received much support. Most panelists advocated the spread of consumer-directed health insurance, which would give more incentives, choices, and responsibility for their health care to consumers."

Advocates of market-based approaches to health care reform touted the survey data. National Center for Policy Analysis President John Goodman, who is also the Vice Chairman of NABE's Health Care Roundtable, said today, "This is an amazing result, considering less than one percent of employees currently are enrolled in consumer driven health plans." Goodman added, "Adopting consumer driven plans with MSAs [Medical Savings Accounts] and HRAs [Health Reimbursement Accounts], also reduces the number of uninsured and makes health plans more flexible, in contrast to a rigid managed care approach."