NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 1, 2007

Presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani on Tuesday called for transforming the way health care coverage is provided in the United States, advocating a voluntary move from the current employer-based system to one that would grant substantial tax benefits to people who buy their own insurance.

In his speech, Giuliani excoriated Democrats for advocating a "socialist" solution to the problem of the nation's 44.8 million uninsured, saying the party's candidates encourage a "nanny government" by proposing a greater government role in health care.

  • Instead, he proposed, tax exemptions of up to $15,000 per family, allowing individuals to direct that money toward the purchase of health insurance and other medical spending.
  • He also said he opposed any government mandates that would require people or businesses to buy insurance, which is central to the universal health care plan neighboring Massachusetts passed in April 2006 when Mitt Romney, a Republican rival, was governor there.
  • And to help the poor or others struggling to afford health insurance, Giuliani said he would support vouchers and tax refunds.

In proposing a tax exemption of up to $15,000 for a family and $7,500 for individuals, Giuliani said that money could be used by consumers to buy an insurance policy of their liking.  The money left over, he said, could be put into a "health savings account" to be used to pay for deductibles or other uncovered medical expenses.

Giuliani said the resulting flood of competition among insurers for customers would lead them to reduce the costs of their policies, estimating that only 20 million to 30 million of the 120 million who currently get their insurance through an employer would need to sign up for individual insurance plans for that to happen.

Source: Marc Santora, "Giuliani Seeks to Transform U.S. Health Care Coverage," New York Times, August 1, 2007.

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