Commentary

Paul Ryan's Universal Health Tax Credit


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For well over a decade, House Speaker Paul Ryan has been a steadfast supporter of replacing current tax and spending subsidies for healthcare and health insurance with a universal tax credit. Readers may be surprised to learn that within the health policy community this idea is not regarded as right wing.

Health economists across the ideological spectrum tend to view the current system of subsidies as arbitrary, regressive, inefficient and unfair. Almost everybody knowledgeable about health economics prefers the tax credit approach, including people in the White House (e.g., Jason Furman) and people who helped give us Obamacare (e.g., Zeke Emanuel).

There may be differences over whether the credit should vary by income, age, geography and other factors. There may be differences over the appropriate size of the credit. But the idea of a health tax credit is not even particularly controversial in the health policy community.

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John C. Goodman is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, President of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and author of the widely acclaimed Independent books, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and the award-winning, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”


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