If America's health care financing system were redesigned from the ground up, what should that system look like? At an AEI event on Tuesday, leading health scholars from across the nation gathered to discuss a plan for achieving affordable coverage for all Americans while maintaining personal choice and efficiency, detailed in the recently released AEI paper "Best of both worlds: Uniting universal coverage and personal choice in health care."
Darius Lakdawalla of the University of Southern California described how Americans overwhelmingly approve of government involvement in health care and feel that they have a social obligation to protect the vulnerable. Amitabh Chandra of Harvard University stressed that the key to achieving affordable, universal, and efficient coverage is discouraging community rating and establishing personalized premiums, premium supports, and long-term contracts. Anupam Jena of Harvard Medical School then discussed the proposal's example of a basic health plan, under which all populations except the "rich sick" would enjoy significant financial benefits.
Nina Owcharenko of the Heritage Foundation applauded the proposal for its suggestions to control public spending and leverage choice and competition against price increases. However, she emphasized the political difficulty of balancing a generous basic plan with financial control. Finally, Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution questioned the proposal's strategy for estimating families' future health care costs, but he agreed that preserving choice for all health care consumers is essential.
The debate over US health care reform and the resulting Affordable Care Act (ACA) laid out several key priorities: (1) grant Americans universal access to health coverage regardless of health status; (2) grant affordable coverage regardless of ability to pay; and (3) contain rising health expenditures.
The ACA’s implementation process has been bumpy, yet high uninsurance rates and lack of access for those with expensive conditions make reverting to the status quo a nonstarter.
In their forthcoming AEI paper, titled “Best of both worlds: Uniting universal coverage and personal choice in health care,” leading health economists from the nation’s top universities chart a new path: comprehensive, market-based health reform that would guarantee affordability, personal choice, and universal coverage. Join some of the authors, along with notable health scholars from the left and right, for the paper’s release and a new debate over the priorities and policies that will most effectively reform health care.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.