Association Health Plans

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported this month that while the number of chronically uninsured Americans is lower than commonly believed (between 21 million and 31 million, rather than 41 million), the number of Americans who go without health insurance for brief periods is around 60 million.

Gephardt’s Health Plan: Four Flaws

Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) recently unveiled the centerpiece of his presidential campaign: a plan to encourage near-universal health coverage. The plan calls for replacing the existing system of federal income tax subsidies for health insurance with a much more expensive system.

Reforming Medicare

Medicare is in need of reform. In a few years, as medical costs escalate and baby boomers retire, Medicare and Social Security will place significant burdens on the federal budget.

Does It Pay Both Spouses to Work?

Social Security was created in an era in which the typical household consisted of a working husband and a stay-at-home wife. The structure of Social Security rewards that type of arrangement and penalizes two-earner households.

Flexible Spending Accounts: The Case for Reform

Congress can help control health care costs, reduce the number of uninsured and promote quality medical care by making an existing health benefit – Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) – more flexible, portable and widely available. Doing so would give millions of Americans more control over their medical care and make them more cost-conscious patients.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements: Making a Good Deal Better

The proportion of health care paid directly by consumers has been falling for decades. In 1960, individuals paid directly for 50 percent of their health care. Today they pay for only 15 percent. The other 85 percent is paid by third parties, generally employers, insurance companies or the government. See Figure. As their share of health expenses declined, so also did consumers' interest in controlling health care costs.

Why Are Health Costs Rising?

Prices for medical services have been rising faster than prices of other goods and services for as long as anyone can remember. But not all health care prices are rising. Although health care inflation is robust for those services paid by third-party insurance, prices are rising only moderately for services patients buy directly.

Two Decades of Mediocrity

Last month marked the 20th anniversary of the release of "A Nation at Risk," the devastating 1983 report on the state of education in America. We all remember its key conclusion, that the "intellectual, moral and spiritual strength of our people" were threatened by a failing education system.