I can think of two modest health care reforms that I could support despite being a libertarian-leaning conservative. The first is health care vouchers, as described by Larry Kudlow.
According the U.S. Census Bureau, we don’t have 47 million folks who are truly uninsured. When you take college kids plus those earning $75,000 or more who chose not to sign up, that removes roughly 20 million people. Then take out about 10 million more who are not U.S. citizens, and 11 million who are eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid but have not signed up for some reason.
So that really leaves only 10 million to 15 million people who are truly long-term uninsured.
Yes, they need help. And yes, I would like to give it to them. But not with mandatory coverage, or new government-backed insurance plans, or massive tax increases. And certainly not with the Canadian-European-style nationalization that has always been the true goal of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.
Instead, we can give the truly uninsured vouchers or debit cards that will allow for choice and coverage, and even health savings accounts for retirement wealth. According to expert Betsy McCaughey, instead of several trillion dollars and socialized medicine, this voucher approach would cost only about $25 billion a year.
$25 billion is still a lot of money. I love how cheap it sounds though, now that we've grown used to talking in trillions over the past few months.
The second idea is universal catastrophic coverage: basically a taxpayer-funded plan with a very high annual deductible, say $25,000. It is very unfortunate for a family to be bankrupted by the need for a major organ transplant or cancer, but these expenses are relatively rare. My intuition tells me that universal catastrophic coverage would cost tens of billions rather than trillions... I'm sure someone has run the numbers for this sort of plan, can anyone find them?