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Financing Health Care Reform: Before the Senate Committee on Finance

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Publication Date: May 2009

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Leonard E. Burman

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Keywords: Health and Health Care; Health Insurance; Uninsured/Uncompensated Care; Taxation of Households

Type: Report


The latest statistics show that 46 million Americans were uninsured in 2007. Health care costs threaten to bankrupt the nation if we can't figure out a way to slow their growth and pay for the government's growing share. Adding to the government's unfunded health care obligations would be reckless and irresponsible. In this statement, I will discuss some issues involved in measuring the impact of health care financing options, discuss an option to pay for universal health care coverage with a value added tax (VAT), and examine several incremental options to pay for all or part of health care coverage expansions.