Ironically, there is money available to pay for health care in America without the necessity of increasing taxes. Step one in obtaining that money is to decriminalize the use of drugs. There were no national drug laws in America until the first decade of the 20th century so it is only appropriate in the first decade of the 21st century to allow the use of drugs. We could readily free the 700,000 currently in jail for drug offenses and save the equivalent of $40,000 per prisoner. Savings in building jails, allocating of police to catch someone in the act of using drugs would save billions.
Portugal has decriminalized drugs and according to a report by the libertarian Cato Institute, “none of the nightmare scenarios” claimed by opponents of the action, ‘from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for drug tourists” has occurred. The Portuguese model retains possession of drugs as a crime, but if a person is halted by police, the drugs are confiscated and the individual compelled to seek counseling by psychiatrists, social workers and legal advisers.
The Portuguese model or a variation of it might be an interesting model for America. Shift from jail to education of those who use drugs makes sense.