US Should Move Away From Employer-Based Health Care Coverage

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Employer-Based Health Insurance

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As the U.S. "prepares for the next great debate on its ailing healthcare system, support is growing for a shift from the traditionalemployer-based financing to publicly subsidized individual healthinsurance," Washington Post columnist David Broder writes in an opinion piece. He cites a report from the Committee for Economic Developmentto be released this week that will "give a strong push to the idea" bysaying "in blunt terms that business can no longer afford to pay therising costs and lacks the clout to curb the forces that are drivinghealth care inflation."

The report "outlines a two-stepsolution, aimed at producing a competitive marketplace with broadindividual choices," according to Broder. First, "the federalgovernment would establish independent regional 'exchanges' throughwhich individuals would purchase one of many competing privateinsurance plans," and second, "every family would receive afixed-dollar credit, sufficient to pay the premium on the basic,low-cost plan in its region, so it could be insured without cost to thefamily budget," Broder writes.

"Converting to such a systemwould be controversial," he continues, adding, "But the growing sensein business that only a mass marketplace of individuals can apply thecompetitive pressure needed to discipline the forces of medicalinflation is moving the country in that direction." Broder concludes,"It should be at the center of the coming health care debate" (Broder, Washington Post, 10/14).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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