NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 26, 2007

When it comes to health care, the public hears mostly about denial of coverage and care, not about the role insurance plays in holding down costs and enabling patients to get medical care and drugs at a discount, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

The insurance industry really has no natural friends, given its role as the enforcer of economic discipline on medical care.  But the fact remains -- when it comes to the business of gatekeeping, there are really only two models:

  • One is private insurance, which works best when many insurers vie for the consumer's business and are judged on how cost-effectively they meet the consumers' needs.
  • A national market for health insurance -- which won't happen until Congress ends the balkanized state regulation of insurance -- would give the public a real choice among competitive firms.
  • The other model is a government-run system, in which insurers are either replaced by a monopoly public payer or they are reduced to contractors given allotments of a government-run risk pool.

In both models, the tough calls would still have to be made, says IBD.  The difference is that the first would give people a choice, and the second would not.

Source: Editorial, "Tough Calls," Investor's Business Daily, December 24, 2007.


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