AVOIDING HEALTH-CARE CHAOS
December 31, 2008
To hear the media tell it, comprehensive health care reform is a done deal. Democrats control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Business, labor and the insurance industry are on board. The lion has lain down with the lamb.
In reality, reform could crater for the same reasons it did in 1994: the leading Democratic plans include radical changes that would tax and disrupt the health care of millions, says Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute.
According to Cannon, requirements for a health reform proposal should include:
- No government-run health care for the middle class. A Medicare-like option for people under 65 is an unwise reform and would discourage innovation and cost lives. A public plan would pay providers less than private insurance, thus patients switching to public coverage may find that their doctor can no longer see them.
- No mandates. Mandating that people purchase health insurance -- on their own or through an employer -- will increase its cost and oust millions from their current source of coverage.
- No price controls, which have failed in every application throughout history, including health insurance.
Economists find that free markets provide secure health insurance to lots of sick people, and that forcing insurers to charge the same premiums to healthy and sick people offers no improvement. Instead, such premium controls encourage insurers to avoid the sick, and encourage healthy people to avoid coverage altogether
Source: Michael Cannon, "Avoiding Health-care Chaos," Washington Times, December 28, 2008.
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