10 Points on Health Care Reform

One of the great advantages of a Congressional majority is the ability to set the agenda and I’ve been impressed with the Democrats’ ability to do just that. Health care reform is most definitely on the agenda on the stump, in the media, and in the blogosphere. Two reasonably sane posts on the subject lately come from Megan McArdle and Steve Verdon. You might want to take a look at them.

I’ve posted extensively here on health care reform so I’ll just make several points bullet-style.

  1. Health care reform is in our future not just because Democrats want it but because what we’re doing now is unsustainable, fiscally and from a public health standpoint.
  2. We will continue to have a public/private hybrid system.
  3. We won’t have a BNH-style system.
  4. We won’t go to a free market system.
  5. Health care inflation has been substantially higher than non-health care inflation for decades. The well has been poisoned, expectations are unreasonable, and there are so many market distortions of such magnitude it’s hard to predict what any specific reform will accomplish. Our base is too high to go to a French-style system. It’s just too costly.
  6. Universal coverage will exacerbate the cost problems we have now.
  7. A single payer system will go part of the way but will not solve the cost problems we have now for the very simple reason that insurance administrative costs can’t be eliminated completely and don’t comprise either enough of the total cost of health care or the increase in the cost of health care to do the trick.
  8. We need serioius, substantial reform on the supply side of health care to reduce costs.
  9. Neither the elimination of adverse selection nor the effects of moral hazard will accomplish that. The opposite, if anything.
  10. No politician wants to address the supply side of the equation because the political costs are too high.
3 comments… add one
  • shaun

    Agreed times 10. Great post.

  • Tom Strong

    It sounds like John McCain is at least inching towards your way of thinking.

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