Sunday, August 9, 2009

Another alternative to universal insurance

I've been thinking about another solution to the healthcare issue.

It would be just as fiscally disastrous for the country as universal health insurance, but if the government volunteered to subsidize a large portion (but not all) of the cost of health insurance for anybody in the country, it would pay the same amount as it would for universal health insurance. Meanwhile, individuals would go out with many forms of health insurance to choose from.

The advantage of this is that health insurance then becomes affordable to everyone, competition between health insurance companies becomes more direct and visible, and innovation is stifled far less than it would be by a government. You still have to handle the fiscal explosion, but at least the health system doesn't deteriorate in quality.

copy pasted an email i wrote below

In fact... if the government required everyone to get private health insurance with certain provisions for treatment, told everyone that it would pay 80% of everyone's health insurance bill, and you choose the private health insurance, it would cost no more than universal healthcare, everyone would have access to most forms of healthcare and innovation still happens. The only way that's "less equal" than universal healthcare is that if I'm willing to pay more for insurance worth an 8, I can, instead of having to enroll at the legally required minimum level of being worth a 4. You can even set the legally required minimum at the level you'd get through universal healthcare... basically, it lets me choose more healthcare than the government could provide me with, while still ensuring everyone gets a basic level of healthcare and allowing for innovation in healthcare. You have to deal with the tax fallout but you'd have to deal with that under universal coverage anyway.

And as a side note, the problem with saying "healthcare is a right" is that healthcare has gradations. If a poor person gets coverage for treatment of 50% of the diseases I currently get covered for, but I now only get covered for 50% of the diseases I used to get covered for, then we both have healthcare but you haven't reduced mortality or morbidity one iota.

EDIT 2: The government could also say "we're paying for the first $X dollars of your health insurance". That way I can pay for supplemental insurance if I want better insurance, but poor people still get decent insurance for free.

No comments:

Post a Comment