Thursday, March 6, 2014

Flopping Into Single Payer

Obamacare Exchanges Are Scarcely Impacting the Uninsured | Power Line: "Of course, this whole situation is very odd. The basic idea underlying Obamacare is that tens of millions of people don’t have health insurance because they can’t afford it. As a result, we all wind up paying for their health care via emergency rooms and so on. Moreover, because the uninsured forgo preventive care, the bills are ultimately larger than if they had been provided with health insurance in the first place. (All of these propositions are debatable, of course.) So Obamacare’s solution is to subsidize the purchase of health insurance by the uninsured. Now they will be able to afford it, because the rest of us will be footing the bill–a smaller bill, the theory goes, than if we were paying for their emergency room treatment or for the consequences of a lack of preventive care.

On paper, that sounds like an attractive proposition. So why isn’t it working? A part of the answer, undoubtedly, is that people’s decisions about buying health insurance are not so simple. The idea that anyone who can afford insurance would certainly buy it, and therefore those who don’t have coverage can’t afford it, is wrong. From there, the conversation gets complicated. That is a subject for another day. For now, let’s just note that to date, Obamacare is a far worse flop than has generally been reported."