Developed country consensus: It is government’s responsibility to ensure that across a broad range of health conditions and a broad range of treatments, no one is denied care because of an inability to pay.
Now which Republican plan actually achieves this goal? None. Not a single one? Zero. But Republicans shouldn’t’ feel too bad. Obamacare doesn’t achieve the goal either. Estimates are that under the Affordable Care Act, half the number of uninsured will remain uninsured. And their access to care will be worse than it was before Obamacare because (1) with more people insured and with the previously insured enjoying more generous coverage, there will be a crowding out of resources, (2) Obamacare is slashing payments to safety net institutions and (3) in adjusting to rationing by waiting more doctors and patients will escape to the concierge market – making the problem worse for everyone who can’t afford concierge care.
And remember, for many of those who are newly insured the out-of-pocket exposure can be as high as $6,600 for individuals and $13,200 for a family. For the young and the healthy this is hardly better than not having insurance at all.
So let’s back up. What would it mean to achieve the goal? Contrary to what many assume, the government doesn’t have to buy health insurance for everyone. Nor does it have to provide health care. It doesn’t even have to spend any more money than it’s now spending. It merely has to change some existing institutions.