September 11, 2007

September 11, 2007 | Commentary on Health Care

Moffit Responds to Krugman Column in The New York Times

To the Editor,

Paul Krugman's op-ed column "A Socialist Plot" (Aug. 27) argues that, since we already enroll millions of middle- and upper-class children in government schools, we should enroll them in government health programs as well.

But after drawing an analogy between education and health care, the good professor failed to finish his homework.

Schools vary. Where public schools are failing, middle- and upper-income kids can get out and enroll in better, private schools. It's poor kids who get trapped in poorly performing schools. To give them an equal opportunity at education, The Heritage Foundation wants poor kids to receive vouchers or tuition assistance that would enable them to enroll in a decent school.  Krugman ignores the quality issue entirely.

Choice is a critical factor in health care, as it is in education.  Most families, regardless of income, have little choice when it comes to health coverage.  If they're lucky, they get coverage through an employer.  If not, their only practical option is to buy it on their own-and pay a heavy tax penalty that could add up to 50 percent on their premium costs-or go bare.

Krugman wants to solve the problem by enrolling Americans in a government health care monopoly, where government officials will make the key decisions. Heritage proposes to offer everyone health care tax credits-a "progressive" system with additional assistance to low-income families-so all can pick, and own, the health policy that suits them best.

Both approaches lead to universal coverage.  Ours respects personal freedom and promises access to American private medicine, a system far more responsive to individual patient needs. 

Robert Moffit
Director, Center for Health Policy Studies
The Heritage Foundation

Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Senior Fellow
Center for Health Policy Studies

Related Issues: Health Care