Friday, March 05, 2010

Ten Cents on the Dollar

RealClearPolitics - The Case for High-Deductible Health Insurance

Essentially, we all want to live forever. This makes health care a very desirable good. At the same time, the normal restraints imposed by price are frequently lacking. Today, of every dollar spent on health care in this country, just 13 cents is paid for by the person actually consuming the goods or services. Roughly half is paid for by government, and the remainder is covered by private insurance. And, as long as someone else is paying, consumers have every reason to consume as much health care as is available.

How likely is it that people will make smart purchasing decisions when they are only paying 13 cents on every dollar being spent for a good? What would happen if food bills were covered that way? Bar tabs? Women's clothing? I think we all realize that prices in all those areas would rise rapidly.

So what would make sense for health care? It would seem pretty obvious that an INCREASE in the deductibles, and instituting some form of mandatory health savings accounts would be a superb idea. So what do BO and company want to do? Well, the opposite of course! They are out to make the situation WORSE!

The president actually denounced high-deductible insurance and greater consumer cost sharing as "not real insurance." Both the House and Senate versions of health reform reduce co-payments and all but eliminate policies with high-deductibles. No co-payments at all are allowed for a wide variety of broadly-defined "preventive" services. The consumer share of health spending will actually decline to just ten cents of every dollar by 2019.
This all but guarantees that health care costs and spending will continue their unsustainable path. And that is a path leading to more debt, higher taxes, fewer jobs and a reduced standard of living for all Americans.

Health care reform cannot just be about giving more stuff to more people. It should be about actually "reforming" the system. That means scrapping the current bills, and crafting the type of reform that makes consumers responsible for their health care decisions.

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