Thursday, February 15, 2007

Frank on Health Care

In today's NY Times, economist Robert Frank makes the case for a government-run health system, along the lines they have in France. Somewhat oddly, however, for support he links to an article coauthored by economist Victor Fuchs which calls for universal coverage through a system of "health care vouchers," which seems to maintain a role for private insurers.

Note that the Bush health plan is not all that far from a voucher system. If we eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance and give everyone a refundable tax credit, rather than a deduction, if they have at least basic health insurance, as the Washington Post recently suggested, then we have in effect given each taxpayer a voucher equal to the credit amount that can be used to buy health insurance. That seems to embrace the central element of the Fuchs plan.