The Magazine

A Surprisingly Good Health Care Plan

Bill Bradley's health care reform is expensive, but it deserves a hearing

Jan 3, 2000, Vol. 5, No. 16 • By ROBERT M. GOLDBERG
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The next step is to articulate policies that encourage businesses to give the employee a defined sum ear-marked for health insurance and allow him to buy his own coverage. Reforms should facilitate flexible-spending-account rollovers and, as John McCain and Steve Forbes have urged, should strip away the excessive regulation that has discouraged the creation of medical savings accounts (regulations that cap the total number of accounts that can be created, for example, and stipulate the size of companies that may offer such plans).

Finally, Republican candidates should promote "health marts" -- private, community-based versions of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, or, as some describe them, medical mutual funds, helping individuals select from among many plans tailored to different needs in a network of insurers and providers. Great ideas all.

The first step toward such broad-based reform is a Bradley-style tax credit or voucher that moves people away from employer-based insurance and out of government programs like Medicaid. Republicans should give Bill Bradley's plan the hearing it deserves.

Robert M. Goldberg is a senior research fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.