Reader ‘s opinion There is a simpler option for a basic income or account

It would be natural for phased implementation of basic security to start with free healthcare.

Basic income or account (HS 4.6.) the idea is to simplify social security and remove the associated incentive traps. However, there would be a more straightforward, comprehensive and cost-effective option for them. Instead of offering citizens money, they should be guaranteed basic security, ie health care and basic housing and food, with a minimum of bureaucracy.

It would be natural for phased implementation of basic security to start with free healthcare, as it involves potentially the highest costs and the risk of inequality. Free treatment and medicines would be the most direct way to equal healthcare. When financial, billing, compensation and regulatory bureaucracies become redundant, huge savings would be made.

The basic cost of housing and nutrition could be covered in the same way as direct reimbursement of medicines. Housing benefits should be standard, thus avoiding overpriced housing. Grocery stores could receive direct compensation on a weekly basis up to a certain amount.

When basic security covers the basic needs of citizens’ lives, discretionary other social security would be limited to specific cases (for example, the sick and disabled). The value of the food and housing subsidies used would be taxable income, but as a result of progression, the poor would not pay the tax and the benefit received by the richest would return to the state. As the wealthier are already paying for social security for the poorest, the situation would not change other than to avoid the many bureaucratic costs associated with current social security.

Basic security is also suitable for those who are unable to manage their affairs on a long-term basis, and the risk of passivation, especially among young people, is lower than in money-sharing support models. When money is not distributed, basic security also gives other models a better chance of avoiding situations where money would go to the wrong purpose.

Kalevi Salonen

Caustic

Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by the HS editorial board. You can leave a comment or read the principles of the writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.

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