Monday, April 27, 2009

Goodman: A Prescription for American Health Care

The March 2009 issue of Imprimis features an article by John Goodman on the future of American health care. The economic picture he paints is pretty bleak.

Here is an excerpt:
A Prescription for American Health Care

...Social Security and Medicare have been spending more than they are taking in for quite some time. As the Baby Boomers start retiring, this deficit is going to grow dramatically. In 2012, only three years from now, Social Security and Medicare will need one out of every ten general income tax dollars to make up for their combined deficits. By 2020 -- just eleven years down the road -- the federal government will need one out of every four income tax dollars to pay for these programs. By 2030, the midpoint of the Baby Boomer retirement years, it will require one of every two income tax dollars. So it is clear that the federal government will be forced either to scale back everything else it's doing in a drastic way or raise taxes dramatically.
Any form of "universal health care" will merely worsen these problems and lead to draconian rationing.

Fortunately, he also describes some free market solutions that would address these problems.

We still have time to act. The big question is whether we will have the political will to do so.

(Disclaimer: With respect to one of the solutions Goodman discusses, I do believe we should allow people to use Health Savings Accounts to pay for their future health care expenses. However, Goodman's piece is slightly ambiguous as to whether he believes this use of HSAs should be voluntary or mandatory. I believe this should be voluntary, and I hope Goodman would agree.)