Is there a third way to achieving universal healthcare?

Jonathan Gruber • FEBRUARY 17, 2014

Jonathan Gruber of MIT explains briefly the flaws with the health reform positions of the political left and the political right, and then argues that essentially the best way forward is to follow the example set by Massachusetts. Many on the left, according to Gruber, want a Canadian-style single-payer system, but this is unrealistic because most people are happy with their insurance and the insurance industry would oppose it. Meanwhile, many on the right want to privatize the market and implement tax credits, but this, he says, is insufficient because we lack a well-functioning market for those who are sick and not already covered. The third way, according to Gruber, is Massachusetts-style "incrementalism." Under this approach, 1) price controls and coverage mandates are introduced to the insurance market, 2) an individual mandate is instituted, and 3) subsidies are offered to make it affordable for low income people. All three elements, says Gruber, are needed.

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