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Working Paper Series

 Abstract

Growing public support for universal health coverage through a public program has provoked increasing attention to the question of how to finance such a program. There should not be any controversy about our ability to pay for universal health care. Given the nearly universal agreement that the current health-care system involves administrative waste and monopoly pricing, a system that would be more efficient and would reduce both should certainly be affordable. Studies finding higher costs for universal coverage programs have reached their conclusions by acknowledging efficiency savings but dismissing them by emphasizing, even exaggerating, the higher costs of providing better access to health care.  Such studies provide a poor guide to the possibilities for an overhaul of our health-care finance system.  In this paper, I discuss the financing of a universal health-care program, beginning with a discussion of current projected spending and the savings to be achieved through a...

Abstract

As a country, the United States spends significantly more on health care than other advanced industrialized count-ries, and Americans have comparably worse health out-comes.  Both are developments of the last four decades.  In this paper, we present a marco, long term explanation of these adverse changes by looking at the evolution of antitrust and patent laws in the United States, surveying the literature on how change in concentration and patent laws have led to increased prices, and constructing a counter-factual national health expenditure series for 1980 through 2006.  We find that the cumulative excess cost of private health care spending on hospitals, physician groups, pres-cription drugs, and net insurance from 1980 until 2006 is between $3 and $6 trillion.

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The Hopbrook Institute Working Paper Series presents research in progress by Hopbrook contributors and conference participants. The purpose of the series is to disseminate ideas and elicit comments from a...

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