Idea: Preview

Relevance:     Universal
Medical care is not an ordinary good; Role of government in medical care; Funding of medical care; Practical implementation

Section 1.
Medical care is not an ordinary good in the marketplace.  The reasons for this fact are numerous. Mainly, what sets medical care apart is that the greatest costs in medical care are not the consequence of easily detectable and alterable behavior patterns of the consumers but rather due to a variety of factors that are unfair, hidden, and complicated. For example, the burdens bestowed upon us by our genetics can be distributed very unfairly in a population. Another example is that certain chemical agents may not be known to be harmful until after long-term exposure. And another example is that certain hazards can have risks that are very difficult to calculate and price accurately. For these reasons, among others, we find that medical care should not be treated like an ordinary good and that the procurement of it should not be solely the burden of the individual.

Section 2.
Because medical care is not an ordinary good in the marketplace, as a society sharing the values of fairness and community, we find that one of the roles of government is to alleviate the burdens of the costs of medical care to the individual. Thus, the government has the role of instituting programs that provide affordable medical care to [at least] all of its citizens and residents. Such programs may maintain some individual costs to prevent waste and abuse, and to keep some degree of market competition in the innovation of new technologies and practices. However, the overall outcome should be that the members of a society should generally not have to worry about illness and injury beyond their personal safety and comfort.

Section 3.
Government medical care programs should be funded as needed by ordinary taxes (such as on market transactions, on land space, and on land use). However, for activities and products that are found to consistently and significantly increase the likelihood of certain health problems in the population, those activities and products should be taxed additionally to compensate for the increased burden on the medical care system.

Section 4.
The question of "what is an ideal arrangement of public medical care administration?" is extremely difficult to answer, and it may vary from country to country, especially depending on its tourism and immigration situations. However, the immediacy of the issue of people getting the medical care they need far outweighs the issue of 'most perfect' management of medical care resources. Therefore, while we develop our understanding of how to best administer a public medical care system, this should not be an excuse for immediately implementing a publicly funded medical care system, and we should do so without any hesitation.
     More specifically, we propose this arrangement as a starting point. Considering that public and private medical care spending of developed countries at the beginning of the 21st century typically ranges between 5 and 12 percent of the GDP (USA being an outlier at around 17%), we should institute direct public funding of the medical care system at a minimum of 7% of the GDP. Furthermore, each legal resident should receive an annual voucher from the government in the amount of 3% of the GDP, to either purchase additional medical care insurance privately or to contribute it to the public medical care system for additional coverage. These public medical care services should be available to everyone, regardless of the legality of their residency and, in emergency situations, regardless of their ability to pay. However, for nonemergency services, legal residents and contributors to the funding of medical care would be prioritized over non-legal residents and non-contributors.
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