Friday, February 22, 2013

Real Health Care Reform

Most Conservatives shy away from reading the Op-Ed Section of the New York Times, but every once in a while a golden nugget of well-reasoned logic shines through the usual slop of ivory tower, theoretical, overly-academic, liberalism.  One of those nuggets appeared this week in an article by media company CEO David Goldhill.

Goldhill writes about the enormous burden borne by today's young workers to pay for health care costs--most of which won't even be their own.  Goldhill estimates a 23-year old worker he just hired will pay at least $1.8 MILLION for health care over her career--including her portion of insurance premiums, the company's share of those premiums, deductibles, Medicare taxes and the percentage of state and federal taxes that fund health care programs.  $1.8 MILLION that could have otherwise found a way into her checking account over the next 40+ years.

There are two great passages from Goldhill's column I want to highlight here--dealing with how real health care reform would save more of us money.  The first deals with the ludicrous way health insurance currently operates--on the assumption that all of us are going to suffer a major medical condition every year and that policies should subsidize all of the most common medical procedures:

Try to imagine what homeowners’ insurance would look like if we expected everyone’s house to burn down and then added coverage for each homeowner’s utility bills and furniture wear-and-tear. This would be insanely expensive without meaningfully reducing anyone’s risk. That, in short, is how health insurance works.

And then Goldhill proposes a real way to bring health care costs back in line:

Here’s a completely different idea, one that might actually work. Let’s give every American health insurance, but only for truly rare, major and unpredictable illnesses. In other words, let’s cover everyone but not everything. It would take a generation to transition fully to such a system, but eventually the most routine and expected medical treatments, from checkups and minor illnesses all the way to common chronic conditions and expected end-of-life care, would be funded from our individual health savings; only the most major needs — for example, cancer, stroke and trauma — would be paid out of insurance.

I couldn't bring myself to check out the comments posted below Goldhill's column.  I already knew the average NYT reader would make the same old liberal argument that "people can't be trusted to save money that is provided to them--so the government should hold that money for them".  Anyway, I just thought everyone would enjoy a well-reasoned, well-argued point on health care reform.

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