Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is More Comprehensive Health Care Reform Actually Cheaper?

Ezekiel Emanuel thinks it is, and he says he has got a plan. Starting from the premise that incremental changes involve more fees which mount up to an overall higher cost, sweeping changes and fundamental reforms can be made for substantially less.

In his piece on The Huffington Post last Tuesday, Emanuel goes into detail, reviewing the proposals and expected costs of each presidential candidate's health care platform in detail. That alone makes it a good read; however, that is not where it ends. He then goes on to make the case for the affordability of universal coverage.

The biggest surprise is that even more comprehensive reform, not only achieves universal -- true 100% -- coverage of all Americans but does so while controlling costs. Prof. Victor R. Fuchs and I have proposed Guaranteed Healthcare Access Plan. It phases out employer-based insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. Instead each American would receive a voucher to buy a standard benefits package modeled on the federal employee health benefits plan through regional insurance exchanges in which private health plans would compete. Workers would receive a pay increase from their employers who no longer pay for health care; state taxes decline because states no longer have to devote 32% of their budgets to health care. The plan is financed by a value-assed tax.
Emanuel continues in this vein for quite some time, elaborating on their approach and reasoning. All-in-all, a fascinating perspective and one that is well worth looking at as we enter the last two weeks of the election. It bears many similarities to the Wyden-Bennett plan I have written about in earlier posts in that it assures Americans portability, guaranteed enrollment, and precludes exclusions for any pre-existing conditions. Follow the source link below to read his entire article.

SOURCE: "More Reform is Cheaper: The Paradox of Health Care Reform" 10/21/08
photo courtesy of a.drien, used under its Creative Commons license

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