“A Vision for Consumer-Driven Health Care Reform” is based upon many meetings and exchanges of information by members of the Health Policy Consensus Group, who are listed as signatories at the end of the booklet. The views expressed in this document reflect those of the individual signers and not necessarily their organizations. Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, and John S. Hoff, health care attorney and Galen Institute trustee, were the principal writers for this vision statement, produced in 1999.
A Vision for Consumer-Driven Health Care Reform
The United States does not have a properly functioning market for health care, and the financing system needs to be reformed. The market is distorted by a tax policy that is mistargeted, miscalibrated, and open-ended. This tax policy provides generous benefits to those who have higher incomes and receive health insurance through the workplace. Yet it offers little or no assistance to those at the lower end of the income scale. Particularly at a disadvantage in the current system are those who fall through the cracks between this tax subsidy and Medicaid.
Reforming the tax treatment of health insurance is essential to creating a more efficient and equitable market for medical services and health insurance in the United States. Correcting the tax distortion would lower the costs of health insurance coverage in both the public and private sectors and thereby allow broader access to quality health care.
This booklet describes the Consensus Group’s vision for consumer-driven health care reform based upon tax reform. These principles and recommendations are integral to the market-based proposals for health care reform of each of the health policy experts in the Consensus Group. There is unanimous agreement on the nature of the problem, and consensus on direction indicated by the recommendations for reform.