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Ben Carson’s incomplete but not so scary idea: Give people money

November 6, 2015

By Yevgeniy Feyman

Republicans are too often portrayed by opponents as heartless and without serious ideas for healthcare reform or cutting poverty. A growing pile of evidence, however, suggests just the opposite. Plan after plan is emerging from the political right, reforms that would make healthcare more affordable (and fix much of the Affordable Care Act's gaps) and radically restructure our anti-poverty programs. Among these is a proposal from Republican candidate Ben Carson that, despite receiving unfairly negative attention, actually has some strong fundamentals.

The healthcare plan, as it's been pitched by Dr. Carson, is simple: Give people a health savings account from birth to allow (and encourage) saving money, pre-tax, for healthcare expenses. The government would contribute $2,000 every year to the HSA, allowing people to save over time for catastrophic expenses.

There are important obstacles here, but it's first worth understanding that the basic principles of this idea are sound. Giving people money to make their own spending decisions is a very attractive idea for economists, who tend to view individuals' decisions as more efficient than those others make for them. When it comes to healthcare in particular, ensuring that patients have "skin in the game" is also crucial to reducing healthcare spending.

Read the full article at the Washington Examiner: Ben Carson's incomplete but not so scary idea: Give people money

Issue Categories : Ben Carson, Health Care