Reformative Health Economists Propose Universal, Free Basic Care in New Book

October 10, 2023

“We’ve Got You Covered: Rebooting American Health Care” is a new book by health economists Liran Einav and Amy Finkelstein. They critique the U.S. health insurance system and propose a radical alternative. They suggest combining a global health budget with universal, accessible primary care for everyone, supplemented by optional additional insurance for more comprehensive coverage. Surprisingly, they advocate for making this basic care entirely free, without co-pays or deductibles, which challenges conventional economic theories about healthcare.

The authors argue for universal coverage because current healthcare practices are inefficient, wasteful, and dangerous for patients. Their solution is to revamp the insurance system rather than make incremental changes. The book does not answer all questions related to the U.S. healthcare system, such as what “basic” means or whether private insurance companies should run the universal system or follow a Medicare-for-all structure. Despite these unresolved issues, the authors believe their model presents an affordable, coherent health system, offering care based on need rather than individual ability to pay.

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[Source: Forbes, October 10th, 2023]

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