Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Voucher System for Healthcare Insurance?

Okay, I feel like irritating some folks this evening. The nationalized healthcare service President Obama wants to impose would cost in the neighborhood of $2 trillion. That's because it assumes that the government would become an insurance company, complete with adjusters and on-staff doctors to evaluate claims. I've got an alternative solution, which might not please my fellow conservatives, but it sure as heck won't amuse my liberal friends, either: send uninsured citizens vouchers, akin to school tuition vouchers, so they could buy private insurance.

The basic problem, I am told over and over, is that we have somewhere between 40 to 50 million people without healthcare insurance. Something like 13 million of those people are illegal immigrants. So let's take that off the top number. So: 37 million people X $1,500 (approximate cost of a decent one-person plan, mine--based out of Massachusetts, by the way, not Alabama--plus a couple hundred bucks thrown on top for good measure) = $55.5 billion.

If you're a liberal, you're happy because the government is providing aid to the uninsured. If you're a conservative, you're happy because citizens get the choice of private-sector health plans less government is required to send checks than to control people's healthcare.

Vouchers would force both sides to put up or shut up. Liberals get to feel good about government, conservatives get to feel good about offering personal choice. The vouchers are only good for one thing, health insurance. And here's a thought: people could get a refund if the price of the insurance plan they select is less than what the government offers--assuming, of course, that prices remain more or less stable. Even at $55.5B per year, after 20 years, the total tab would still be only about $1.1 trillion, which would be less than the annual cost of this year's healthcare tab. Or am I dreaming here?

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