Baffled about healthcare policy

And, while I’m on the subject of centrist positions, I’m completely baffled by why the position I’ve been taking on healthcare reform meets with such antipathy from both the left and the right. My position, in a nutshell (or nutcase, as you prefer) is:

  • any reform adopted should be simultaneously politically possible and practically effective (a tall order)
  • completely abandoning all government subsidies for healthcare is simultaneously heartless and politically impossible
  • reports of a market in healthcare are highly exaggerated
  • the highly touted benefits of our present healthcare system are a consequence of our system of healthcare finance. They do not occur despite our system.
  • our present system of healthcare finance is not sustainable
  • increasing the demand for healthcare (universal coverage does this; so do government subsidies) without increasing the supply of healthcare will result in increases in healthcare costs
  • cutting insurance companies out of the healthcare pie (single-payer) will result in a very small reduction in costs, possibly 10% or less, without addressing the cause of the rate of increase in healthcare costs
  • a single-payer system that does not address the causes of the rate of increase in healthcare costs is neither politically nor economically sustainable (that was the experience with TennCare)
  • a fully socialized system is politically impossible

My conclusion: we need to address issues of excess demand and insufficient supply simultaneously.

1 comment… add one
  • kreiz

    Your approach distills the problem to its essence, and I couldn’t agree more, particularly regarding this: increasing the demand for healthcare … without increasing the supply of healthcare will result in increases in healthcare costs I’m convinced that our political parties are incapable of thinking this way because they’re beholden to base constituencies. It’s very frustrating that common sense can’t be utilized.

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