A New-Stone Age



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What has tax to do with healthcare delivery? The simple answer is that it is at the core of health financing. However, the question raises others about the proper role of government in healthcare delivery. From these emerge considerations, beyond merely ownership vis-à-vis efficiency and cost-effectiveness, of subtler issues such as the influence on this role, of competition and control in the health services milieu. Additionally, they alert us to the potential prospects and challenges of both the markets and of government in healthcare provision, which underline the increasing debates in many developed countries, including the U.S., and Canada, on the most appropriate approaches to, and the intricacies of healthcare financing that would increasingly require our attention in the years ahead. That how we finance our health services plays a crucial role in their accessibility for example, is not in question, many not able to afford health insurance, or lack access to health services to a more or less extent, even in countries with publicly funded health systems. In his weekly radio address to Americans on January 20, 2007, in a preview to his forthcoming Union address on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, President George Bush noted that reforming the federal tax code is potentially promising in making private health insurance more affordable1. The President plans to propose a tax reform, treating health insurance similar to home ownership, with as the current tax code for home ownership, enabling the deduction of the interest on mortgage from the owner’s taxes, to provide a similar inducement for purchasing health insurance. In addition, he also plans to support states’ efforts to tackle the uninsured and healthcare accessibility issues, his overall goals, to make health insurance more affordable, and to empower the healthcare consumer in making discerning choices regarding healthcare issues, in effect, to enjoy improved healthcare and healthier lives. 




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