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View Universal vouchers

Universal vouchers are health vouchers used in a system of Universal health care. Individuals would receive these universal health vouchers and then be able to use them to purchase their choice of a variety of different kinds of private health insurance plans.

Universal vouchers would ensure that all health plans include certain basic benefits and cut down on costs by removing excessive layers of administration. Furthermore, universal vouchers could allow for very diverse plans, giving consumers a wide range of options regarding how much technological intervention they want in their health and bodies.

IEET Executive Director James Hughes advocates a system of universal health care vouchers in Citizen Cyborg, inspired in part by Ezekiel Emanuel’s book The Ends of Life.

As James Hughes notes, a transhumanist plan could allow for limb augmentation, gender reassignment, or gene therapy instead of more traditional therapies, and cryonics instead of extended end of life care. On the other hand, more Bioconservative plans could instead provide for extended care of the brain dead.

Ezekiel Emanuel outlines ten principles of Universal Healthcare Vouchers (UHV):

1. Universality: Each American under 65 would receive a voucher to pay for basic, but high quality, health insurance.
2. Freedom of Choice: There would be several health plans to choose from.
3. Freedom to Purchase Additional Services: Those who wanted to pay for even greater choice of or more comprehensive services could use their own money to do so.
4. Funding would be by an Ear-Marked Value-Added Tax (VAT).
5. Reliance on Private Delivery System: A variety of private health insurance companies would still work with medical providers to deliver services.
6. Ending Employment-based Insurance: Employee provided health insurance lowers wages and employment rates or raises prices.
7. Eliminating Medicaid and Other Means Tested Programs: There would not be a need for programs such as Medicaid or state Children’s Health Insurance Programs, as those covered under such programs would now receive coverage from vouchers
8. Replacing Medicare over time: Those already on Medicare would remain on it, but those turning 65 would remain solely in the UHV system.
9. Administration: A Federal Health Board (FHB) would provide oversight of the UHV system. The FHB would be responsibility for defining and from to time modifying basic benefits packages, as well as ensuring quality of care throughout the nation.
10. Technology and Outcomes Assessment: An independent Institute for Technology and Outcomes Assessment would research assess the effectiveness and value of different interventions and treatment strategies.

A UHV system has several advantages over single-payer, the most significant being that it is much more politically feasible. A UHV system is much more appealing to those who object to some implementations of universal health care on the basic that they limits autonomy and individual choice.

Sources:
A Plan for Universal Health Care with Choices
Solved! by Ezekiel Emanuel and Victor R. Fuchs
Universal Health Care Vouchers

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