On January 1 of each year, the British government would mail a check for 1,000 pounds to every British resident. They can do whatever they want with that money, but if they are being prudent, they might want to set it aside to cover out-of-pocket health care costs.
In my system, individuals are now required to pay out-of-pocket for 100 percent of their health care costs up to 2,000 pounds, and 50 percent of the costs between 2,000 pounds and 8,000 pounds. The government pays for all expenses over 8,000 pounds in a year.From a citizen’s perspective, the best-case scenario is that they use no health care, so they end up 1,000 pounds to the positive.
Well over half of U.K. residents will end up spending less than 1,000 pounds on health care in a given year. The worst case for an individual is that he/she ends up consuming more than 8,000 pounds of health care, so that he/she ends up 4,000 pounds in the red he/she spends 5,000 pounds on health care, but this is offset by the 1,000 gift at the beginning of the year.If it turns out that consumers are sensitive to prices i.e., that the most basic principle of economics holds, and demand curves slope downwards, total spending on health care will decrease. In simulations we’ve run at The Greatest Good, we estimate that total health care costs might decline by roughly 15 percent.
That is a decrease in spending of nearly 20 billion pounds. This decrease comes because a competition will likely lead to increased efficiency; and b consumers will cut out the low-value healthcare services they are currently using only because the services come for free.