Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health care again

So this article in The Economist got me thinking about health care once again. According to the first chart in the article (and there's a better one in the print version that puts government health care spending as a percentage of GDP), the US and Canadian governments spend a roughly equal amount per person on health care. But in the US, that coverage only covers those over 65, very poor, or disabled. In Canada, it covers EVERYBODY.

So here's the plan: copy the Canadian system--with one exception. Let the private health care market continue to function. For the same amount of tax dollars, we can cover everybody. So let's start by doing that, since it won't cost anybody any more, and will allow millions of uninsured people to get coverage. For people who don't like the Canadian system, fine. They won't be paying any more than they are now, and they'll be free to continue receiving their coverage through the private market.

I don't like this solution. Nonetheless, it's incredibly simple to implement as it requires zero original thinking or innovation. (Here I naively thought America was a place that encouraged innovation but it's clear in the current health care debate that is not the case.) It costs no more than what we're already spending and requires no additional contributions from anybody. Everybody is free to remain with their private market solution if they choose. And people who are unable to get coverage under the current US system now have coverage. Voila, we've just improved the US health care system. Now was that really so hard?


Post a Comment

<< Home