Milton Friedman on Healthcare and the Poor

Milton: Yes, Ma’am. Woman: Dr. Friedman, you mentioned that eighty
percent of the people in the country are covered by private insurance plans. I’m curious
as what your proposal would be to cover those who presently are not covered, and those who
truly cannot afford at this point, because they are below the so-called poverty level,
they are not in organized labor, they are not a member of a large corporation, which
provides such a plan for its employees. Milton: I said before, I do not believe you
ought to have any special program for medicine at all. I believe, I have long been in favor
of substituting for our present whole set of welfare arrangements, a comprehensive negative income
tax, which would provide to individuals, below a level, a sum of money which would assure
they would be able to maintain a particular level. There is no reason why part of that
sum of money cannot be spent on the purchase of the same kind of medical insurance everybody
else has . I have long been opposed, and I think you should be opposed, to giving special
sums of money to people for housing, and another sum for food, and another sum for clothing,
and another sum for medical care. We ought to give people, the problem of poverty is
money, and we ought to have a program, under which we assure a minimum level of income,
of spending, and then let people spend it the way they want. Woman: Absolutely. Good answer.

Daniel Yohans

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