Manage Your Own Preventive Care – National Journal

Commentary by John C Goodman

Source: The National Journal

It is too bad that the new health reform law will require all insurance to cover preventive services with no cost sharing. This is the exact opposite of sound policy. With few exceptions (e.g., childhood immunizations), third party insurance should not pay for these services at all. Instead, patients should make their own decisions, managing their own health care dollars in a Health Savings Account.

The reasons: (1) there is overwhelming evidence that preventive care adds to total health costs rather than reducing costs, so there is no legitimate third-party interest in subsidizing this kind of care; (2) this is the type of expenditiure where patients can save considerable money through careful shopping (by using walk-in clinics, for example); (3) the experts differ on when, how much and how frequently patients should have these things done, as almost any daily newspaper will confirm, and (4) since patients differ in their attitude toward health care in general and risk in particular, this is precisely the type of activity where individuals should make their own decisions and we should be willing to let different people make different choices.


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