Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just A Bit Irritated

I know I hit on this exact point a few weeks ago, but I'm going to do it again in regards to this editorial in today's New York Times about the candidates health care plans. Yet again, the Times misses several of the real problems with health care in this country when discussing McCain's plan.

The great danger is that Mr. McCain’s plan will fragment the sharing of risks and costs — the bedrock of any good insurance plan — by enticing young, healthy workers to bail out of their employers’ group policies to seek cheaper insurance on their own. Their older or less healthy colleagues would be left behind, which would drive up premiums at work. The rising costs could lead many companies to drop their health coverage entirely. The proposal also offers little protection for older and sicker people forced to buy policies in the open market

The pooling of risk is for the benefit of the insurer, not the insured. As the Times points out, younger, healthier workers could get cheaper plans on their own ... which means, in other words, that the current group plans offered by many employers literally rely on the money of the young to offset the costs of older, sicker workers. Which begs the question, why should the young, who as a whole make less than their older peers, have to subsidize the health care of these same older peers? Even if you're an equality-minded liberal, how on earth is this fair?

One other comment on the notion that older and sicker people will have trouble buying policies in the open market .... As I've said a million times before, no duh. To the extent this is an issue, it is not an issue that we should attempt to solve through the manipulation of markets. Sick people with preexisting conditions can't get health insurance because they don't need insurance, they have immediate health care needs.

I know I'm probably beating a dead horse here, but the health care debate always seems miles and miles away from where it should be.


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