Friday, 22 January 2010

"You just can't go down much further than this."

There's a very useful article today in Time that explains better than I did why health care reform in bits and pieces just makes the problem worse rather than better:

That is because these kinds of well-intentioned smaller reforms create a vicious cycle:
  • Healthy people, knowing they won't be discriminated against if they get sick, decide to go without coverage.
  • Insurance companies, which are footing the medical bills for a lot of sick people without offseting premiums from healthy ones, raise their rates.
  • Even more healthy people decide to drop their insurance.
  • With an even sicker pool of people, proportionately, insurance companies raise their rates more ...
The lesson has been that, unless you have pretty much everyone covered, insurance reforms won't work. "What many people don't understand is there is a very high level of interdependence among the parts. The legislation that is in front of Congress now is incremental reform," says Princeton University public affairs professor Paul Starr. "You just can't go down much further than this."
That's true on so many levels.

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