Len Burman’s Brief for a Health Care VAT

By :: April 24th, 2014

In the cover essay in the current issue of The Milken Institute Review, Len Burman calls for a Value-Added Tax (VAT) to pay for government health care costs.

Len, the director of Tax Policy Center (and, thus, my boss), argues that a dedicated—and fully transparent--health care VAT would increase public support for efforts to slow the growth of medical costs. That’s because the VAT would rise, for all to see, with increases in government health spending. In effect, we’d be confronted with an explicit choice: Pay more tax or support steps to control health care cost growth.

Len’s argument is provocative, to say the least. And the article is accompanied by some art that is, umm, unusual. Thomas Piketty’s charts and graphs have nothing on this. (btw, Len had no role in creating the images).

Give Len’s essay a read, and let us know what you think.