National Health Insurance: What Now, What Later, What Never?

National Health Insurance: What Now, What Later, What Never?

National Health Insurance: What Now, What Later, What Never?

National Health Insurance: What Now, What Later, What Never?

Excerpt

Over the past decade, few issues have generated more public and legislative discussion, but less completed legislation, than national health insurance (NHI). One result of the lengthy debate is that issues and principles, even if once clearly stated, tend to be forgotten. Another result is that positions and programs, even if forcefully advocated, tend to be overshadowed by the sheer repetition of other arguments (though more arguments have clearly fallen by the wayside). A third and somewhat surprising characteristic of the discussion is that there are some important points that have so far been left unsaid or undeveloped. The purpose of this conference, held in Washington, D.C., in October 1979 -- approximately the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the NHI debate -- was to address these problems.

NHI deals with both the deprivation of care and the absence of financial protection by providing more insurance than people presently have. In this sense, the present situation might be said to be characterized by "underinsurance." The conference dealt with the problem of underinsurance at considerable length, in a manner to be discussed below. But it is also important to note that there is at present an equally significant problem of "overinsurance"; many people have too much insurance of the wrong kind. The problem of overinsurance can only be exacerbated by piling more public insurance on top of presently excessive levels of private insurance. The topic of overinsurance -- what it means and what its causes are -- was also given serious discussion at the conference.

Whether NHI is to be general or selective, virtually all proposals involve additional outlays of public funds. With the federal budget already in serious deficit, and with the depressing influence of taxation on economic activity already a subject of much debate, it was appropriate for the the conference to investigate the budgetary and taxincentive consequences of alternative NHI plans. Because some plans propose covering people who are not poor under mandated employer . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.