Empowering Health Care Consumers Through Tax Reform

For decades, policymakers have been searching for ways to help Americans gain greater access to affordable health care. As costs and the number of uninsured continue to rise, a different approach clearly is needed. In Empowering Health Care Consumers through Tax Reform, the Health Policy Consensus Group explores the intersection of health and tax policy for solutions. These economists and health policy advisers, together with business and union representatives, physicians, and political leaders, describe the distortions to the health care system caused by a 50-year-old provision in the tax code, and they paint their vision of a revived free-market system.

“The essays in this book provide enough different arguments in favor of reform that any reader, regardless of ideological convictions, should be able to find one that convinces. Health insurance premiums are slated to increase sharply once again. The number of uninsured continues to grow. Tax reform would save enough money to fund much broader expansions of insurance than politicians in either party are now considering — and it would remedy many other distortions at the same time. Let’s hope this lively volume will reopen this longstanding issue for serious debate.”
— Sherry Glied, Columbia University, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Winter 2001

Table of Contents


A Fair Health Insurance System
Jack Faris

Grace-Marie Arnett

Grace-Marie Arnett

Chapter 1
The Tax Treatment of Health Insurance: Early History and Evidence, 1940-1970
Robert B. Helms, Ph.D.

Chapter 2
What’s Wrong with the Present System
Michael Tanner

Chapter 3
High Anxiety: Working Families Need Market-Based Health Care Reform
Robert Emmet Moffit, Ph.D.

Chapter 4
An Efficient and Equitable Approach to Health Reform
Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D.

Chapter 5
A Better Subsidy for Health Insurance?
C. Eugene Steuerle, Ph.D. and Gordon B. T. Mermin

Chapter 6
Improving the System for Delivering Subsidies: Cap or Scrap the Exclusion?
John S. Hoff

Chapter 7
Toward a Universal Marketplace for Health Care
David B. Kendall

Chapter 8
Health Care Reform: Why Not Try Real Insurance?
Norman B. Ture, Ph.D. and Stephen J. Entin

Chapter 9
Restructuring the Current Health Insurance Tax Subsidy to Cover the Uninsured
Kevin Vigilante, M.D., M.P.H., Christopher D’Arcy, M.D., and Tammy Reina

Chapter 10
Medical Savings Accounts: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
John C. Goodman, Ph.D.

Chapter 11
Promoting a Consumer-Driven Health Care System
Senator Robert F. Bennett

Chapter 12
The Role of a Universal Health Credit in Welfare and Tax Reform
Representative Thomas E. Petri

Chapter 13
The Workers’ Right to Choose
Edward Ryan Moffit

Chapter 14
Healing the Physician-Patient Relationship
Sewell H. Dixon, M.D.

Appendix A
About the Authors

Appendix B
A Vision for Consumer-Driven Health Care Reform
Health Policy Consensus Group

Appendix C
Tax Reform: The Heart of Health Care Reform

Appendix D
Petition on Health Policy Reform

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