Over at Reason.com Ron Bailey has a round-up of sorts of the studies of the various devices including community rating (under which everybody in the same geographic area pays roughly the same healthcare insurance premiums) and guaranteed issue (under which healthcare insurance must be issued regardless of previously existing health conditions), features of the Baucus fill making its way through the Senate, that are being proposed as mechanisms for curbing increasing healthcare costs. Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds
I doubt that it will be surprising to many of my readers that not only do these approaches not control costs, they actually increase them. Nor do I suspect that it will be surprising that various market-oriented approaches towards healthcare reform, aimed at promoting competition among healthcare providers and healthcare insurance providers or making healthcare consumers more cost conscious, do result in cost control. Ron’s article is worth reading.
BTW, why do so many people seem to believe that once you’ve identified a possible motive behind a study, you can dismiss it? That’s a version of the ad hominem fallacy. You need to address the study itself, not just point out possible motives those conducting the study might have for slanting their results.
If there are studies of U. S. conditions that reach different conclusions, I’d be eager to take a look at them. It would be very helpful if there were some real live domestic examples of successes in controlling healthcare costs as a result of things like community rating or guaranteed issue. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge all of the experiments conducted in the various states along these lines have been failures.
As I’ve written here ad nauseam, I’m in favor of healthcare reform and I’m in favor of it now. However, the reform we need is reform that reduces costs. Without that our healthcare system collapses soon and may well take our entire system of fiscal policy with it. And reforms that are based on experience and evidence are those that are most likely to work.