chapter  13
Financing Health Care for the Poor: Second-Best Solutions
WithEli Ginzberg
Pages 18

The single most important observation to be made about financing arrangements that facilitate the access of the poor to the health care system is to emphasize the variety of mechanisms that are used to accomplish the purpose. There are a large number and variety of publicly financed general and categorical health care programs, including community health centers, well-baby clinics, and mental health services, to which the poor and the near-poor have access free-of-charge or with only a token fee. As for employers, they are increasingly and understandably restive, with the unremitting double-digit increases in the costs of their health care benefits and with the fact that no relief is in sight. The Health Policy Agenda for the American People, which the American Medical Association took the lead in organizing, recommended a substantial increase in the number of enrollees—all persons with incomes below the poverty level—as well as a standardized package of benefits.