Report

Meeting the Dilemma of Health Care Access: Extend Insurance Coverage while Controlling Costs

Henry J. Aaron and Joseph P. Newhouse

The American public has a right to expect all Presidential candidates to address certain specific health system shortcomings, including the need to increase access to health care, reform Medicare and other financing, improve quality, and tackle medical malpractice reform. These issues have figured prominently in recent political debates, and they can be solved by several policy options.

Recommendations
The next President will have to choose some variant of the following specific options:

  • increasing consumers’ share of health costs through high-deductible insurance, as an alternative to expanding employment-based coverage
  • incremental change to strengthen and extend employment-based health coverage, through reinsurance or making federal insurance programs (Medicare, Medicaid, or the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program) more widely available
  • universal health insurance by means of “Medicare-for-all”
  • support for state-level reforms-which may be the most politically feasible of these alternatives

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Opportunity 08 aims to help 2008 presidential candidates and the public focus on critical issues facing the nation, presenting policy ideas on a wide array of domestic and foreign policy questions. The project is committed to providing both independent policy solutions and background material on issues of concern to voters.

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