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Friday, February 16, 2007

A Health Care Plan So Simple, Even Stephen Colbert Couldn't Simplify It

Excerpts from 'The New York Times' (Business Day page C3) 2/15/07 - Economic Scene, Robert H. Frank

'In his State of the Union address, President Bush proposed tax cuts to make health insurance more affordable for the uninsured. The next day, Stephen Colbert had this to say on his show on Comedy Central:'

"It's so simple. Most people who can't afford health insurance also are too poor to pay taxes. But if you give them a deduction from the taxes they don't owe, they can use the money they're not getting back from what they haven't given to buy the health care they can't afford."

'...That Mr. Bush's proposal will not shrink the ranks of the uninsured is not its most serious problem. Far more troubling is its embrace of a system under which we spend more than twice as much on health care, on average, as the 21 countries in which life expectancy exceeds ours. American costs are so high in part because the reliance on private insurance multiplies administrative expenses, currently about 31 percent of total outlays...'

'Most health economists agree that government-financed reimbursement is the only practical way to control these expenses, many of them stemming from insurers' efforts to identify and avoid unhealthy people. Canada's single-payer health system, which covers everyone, spends less than 17 percent on administrative expenses...'

'...If the single-payer system embraced by virtually all other developed countries is clearly the best solution, why doesn't the United States adopt it?...'

Link to the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/

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