A MODEST PROPOSAL….Ezra Klein, after a full day of prostate blogging yesterday, says today that David Brooks is right when it comes to the big picture in healthcare policy:
He correctly identifies the central reality of health care politics, which is that most Americans are basically happy with what they have, but worried about keeping it. Policies that guarantee their futures are quite popular. Policies that radically change their presents are not.
Well, if that’s the case, then here’s an idea: expand Medicare (or create a similar program) to cover every person in America under the age of 21. And then let them keep it as they grow older. In ten years everyone under 31 would be covered. By 2050 at the latest the whole country would be covered — and probably earlier than that once the program reaches a critical mass. Taxes would rise slowly to cover each new cohort, employer healthcare would gradually go away, union contracts would have decades to adjust, and no one would have to give up anything they have now.
This is just watercooler conversation. I’ve given it no serious thought at all. But why not?