Reforming the U.S. Health Care System

Policy Backgrounders | Health

No. 149
Monday, April 26, 1999
by John C. Goodman & Merrill Matthews


Introduction

Unwise government policies are largely responsible for the fact that the number of Americans without health insurance is 43 million and rising. Unwise government policies also are responsible for the fact that people who have health insurance are turning over an ever-larger share of their health care dollars to managed care bureaucracies that limit patient choices and sometimes give providers perverse incentives to deny care.

The proposals below would fundamentally alter the federal government policies that contribute to these problems. The proposals would eliminate distorted incentives, empower individuals and create new options in the health insurance marketplace.

"Unwise government policies are causing the number of people without health insurance to rise."

The proposals do not increase the financial role of government. Through tax subsidies and direct spending programs, federal and state governments already spend more than enough on health care and health insurance. Instead, the proposals would radically reorder government programs -- to make them efficient and fair.

In constructing this document, we have benefited from many discussions with health policy analysts at other think tanks; representatives from industry, the medical community and government; and members of Congress and their staffs.

However, the proposals that follow are our own and we bear full responsibility for them.


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