NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 17, 2008

For all the rhetoric of "change," this election is a contest between two very old, and very important, competing visions of government, says the New York Sun.  Senators Clinton and Obama have spelled out, in very clear terms, their desire to see the government take over our health care system. Senator McCain, on the other hand, wants to use market forces to empower individuals with freedom and choice.

Free-market thinkers have a clear and compelling case that the problems in our health care system do not represent a failure of markets, but a failure of government.  For example:

  • While government's role in health care has expanded -- one out of two health care dollars is now spent by the government -- health care has become more expensive, less efficient, and less accessible.
  • Health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000 while inflation grew at 18 percent and wages grew by 20 percent.
  • Meanwhile, the percentage of employers offering coverage has dropped 8 percent during the same period.

A market-based system that would unleash the power of innovation and competition in health care is within reach, says the Sun.  A key reform would involve transferring health care tax benefits to individuals rather than employers:

  • McCain's plan would do that by providing every American with a tax credit of $2,500 per individual ($5,000 per family) to buy their own insurance plan.
  • Switzerland, hardly a bastion of conservatism, has used a similar individual-based model where costs are 50 percent less than in America, with better outcomes.

Source: Tom Coburn, "Competition Solves Health Care," The New York Sun, March 10, 2008.


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