Monetary Policy, Taxation, and International Investment Strategy

By Victor A. Canto; Arthur B. Laffer | Go to book overview
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15
Are We Climbing the Wall of Resistance toward National Health Insurance?

JAMES BALOG

The issues surrounding health care policy are extremely important to the future of our country, not only on social grounds but on economic grounds as well. We must deal with the problem of health care spending in order to maintain our competitive standing in the world. The United States is now spending a larger proportion of its GNP on health care than any other country. American business is now devoting 50 percent of its corporate operating profit to health care for its employees and retirees. Estimates of these hidden liabilities range from $169 billion to $2 trillion and could equal all other liabilities on the balance sheets of American corporations. The Financial Accounting Standards Board wants the hidden liability of corporate health care expenditures brought into the open. The current proposal calls for accrual accounting on the profit and loss statement by 1992 and the recording of a "minimum" liability on balance sheets by 1997. Health benefit costs may be as important to American business as the economic integration of Europe in 1992 or the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong in 1997. How did the problem get so big and how might it be resolved?


HISTORY

The idea of government sponsored health care, retirement systems, and other social programs began in 1883 in Bismarck's Germany. The entry age was established at 65, a sufficiently high level since life expectancy was then under 50 years. Not many people were expected to be able to take advantage of the

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