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December 21, 2007

Approaches to health care

Once again, health care is a major issue in the presidential campaign. Every candidate has his or her own plan. Can we put these plans into some basic categories? Listen

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"I think we can, and I'm going to call the categories the 'top down' and the 'bottom up' approaches. The top down approach I think is best indicated by what is called a single-payer plan. This would be a government-run health care plan. Everyone would be insured. Everyone would be guaranteed care. And this plan would be financed by taxes of some kind. The issue is because you don't have prices to motivate people to use and not use, the government would probably have to set up some rules in order to determine who gets care and who doesn't get care and when they get care.

"The alternative approach, I'll call the bottom up. This is a consumer-driven plan. First of all, what you would do is you would require that everyone have health insurance. If someone can't afford it, vouchers would be provided to enable a person to buy health insurance. On the supply side, we would ease up on the regulations in order to encourage more competition in order to get more providers out there. This plan relies on consumers having a lot of information and knowing how to make their best choices."

Posted by Dave at December 21, 2007 08:00 AM