HEALTH CARE COVERAGE FOR ALL, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY
December 2, 2004
A recent poll indicates that 62 percent of Americans favor a government-run program that guarantees insurance for all. According to Reason magazine's Ronald Bailey, health insurance coverage should be mandatory, but not in the form of the universal, single-payer system prevalent in Canada and European countries.
Bailey argues that by requiring individuals to purchase their own health insurance and allowing the tax credits to go to individuals instead of private employers, consumers would have more autonomy over their health care choices. This would encourage them to shop wisely for health care and prescription drugs. For example:
- Under mandatory health insurance, all Americans would be required to purchase private health insurance, but out of pocket deductible costs would be limited to perhaps 10 percent of family income.
- If a cap is placed on out-of-pocket deductibles, $4,000 for example, a family making only $30,000 per year would receive a $1,000 "health voucher" to help cover costs.
- Americans would be required to contribute to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to cover out-of-pocket; employers could allocate the money they would normally spend on employee health insurance to employee HSAs as well.
If employers would give the money they pay for health insurance per employee to employees as part of a tax-free benefit, the tax breaks for health insurance would go directly where they are needed most -- to the individual, explains Bailey.
Source: Ronald Bailey, "Mandatory Health Insurance Now!" Reason, November 2004.
For text http://www.reason.com/0411/fe.rb.mandatory.shtml
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