Thursday, December 3, 2009

Answers that need questioning

The topic is health care.

Public option proponents need to explain why auto insurance works so well despite being privately provisioned (although there are coverage mandates in most states).  Or, I suppose, convince me that auto insurance does NOT work so well.

Public option opponents need to explain why so many other countries have gone that route with apparent success (Canada, most of the EU, etc).

These aren't new or original questions, they've been answered all over the place, by all kinds of people.  Somebody link me up with some convincing arguments.

A few starting thoughts:
  1. You know that Geico commercial with the money and the 80's song?  Or the one with the gecko?  Or the cave people?  What about the health insurer campaigns.  I can't think of one.  Is that because they market to HR reps and not to me?
Private insurers don't generally pay for regularly scheduled service or even unscheduled service that did not have clear cause, like a car accident.  And they total cars if things get out of hand.  And there's nothing in their industry that approximates the costs associated with, say pre-natal care.
  1. I haven't run the numbers, but it seems pretty true across the board that countries with public health care have all, or nearly all averaged significantly lower year-on-year GDP gains over the past few decades.  Might this be the hidden cost?
  2. Is there any credibility to the claim that public plan countries "free load" off the innovations of the US private sector, by providing implementations of technologies developed and later economized by the US?  If so, is the opportunity cost for switching higher in the US than it was in other countries?  Any way we might free load off of, e.g., India?  China?  Too soon for that?

1 comment:

Jim Apple said...

This is a lot of questions.

One problem with our health insurance market is that mere mortals can't comparison shop. They don't know the likelihood of many insurance-related conditions or events, and, even if they did, they don't have the time or legal expertise to read a few 200-page contracts and see which one suits them best. They may not even know how to legally comply with the disclosure required under their shiny new 200-page insurance contract.