Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three Word Summary

Barack Obama's health insurance idea: tax the uninsured! Harvard Econ Prof and former Bush CEA Chair Greg Mankiw has the details. Contrary to Obama, de-linking employment and health insurance is John McCain's wisest plank, as Jeff Jacoby echoes in Sunday's Boston Globe:
An end to employer-based health insurance is exactly what the American healthcare market needs. Far from being a calamity, it would represent a giant step toward ending the current system's worst distortions: skyrocketing premiums, lack of insurance portability, widespread ignorance of medical prices, and overconsumption of health services.

With more than 90 percent of private healthcare plans in the United States obtained through employers, it might seem unnatural to get health insurance any other way. But what's unnatural is the link between healthcare and employment. After all, we don't rely on employers for auto, homeowners, or life insurance. Those policies we buy in an open market, where numerous insurers and agents compete for our business. Health insurance is different only because of an idiosyncrasy in the tax code dating back 60 years - a good example, to quote Milton Friedman, of how one bad government policy leads to another. . . .

We thus ended up with a healthcare system in which the vast majority of bills are covered by a third party. With someone else picking up the tab, Americans got used to consuming medical care without regard to price or value. After all, if it was covered by insurance, why not go to the emergency room for a simple sore throat? Why not get the name-brand drug instead of a generic?

Unconstrained by consumer cost-consciousness, healthcare spending has soared, even as overall inflation has remained fairly low.
Remember this next time you see Obama's ad claiming McCain wants to tax your health insurance (without mentioning the off-setting credit McCain uses to force insurance companies to compete for consumer health insurance).

(via Conservative Grapevine)

1 comment:

OBloodyHell said...


I dunno about three words, unless I can proceed to four (It's ok if five is right out).

The four words are known by an acronym:

F O A D.

"...And Obama, being naughty in my sight, did snuff it"