Tag Archives: Obanacare Logic

Universal Healthcare Fundamentals

Published / by Stephen

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Krugman has written another piece on the logic of universal healthcare. A must read. Key points below:

…The logic of Obamacare — the reason anything aiming to cover a large fraction of the previously uninsured must either be single-payer or something very like the ACA — is the clearest thing I’ve seen in decades of policy discussion.

…providing health care to those previously denied it is, necessarily, a matter of redistributing from the lucky to the unlucky. …You can’t make this reality go away.

…a market economy won’t care for the sick unless they can pay for it; insurance can help up to a point, but insurance companies have no interest in covering people they suspect will get sick. So unfettered markets mean that health care goes only to those who are wealthy and/or healthy enough that they won’t need it often, and hence can get insurance.

…guaranteeing health care comes with a cost. You can tell insurance companies that they can’t discriminate based on medical history, but that means higher premiums for the healthy — and you also create an incentive to stay uninsured until or unless you get sick, which pushes premiums even higher. So you have to regulate individuals as well as insurers, requiring that everyone sign up — the mandate, And since some people won’t be able to obey such a mandate, you need subsidies, which must be paid for out of taxes.

—[the Republicans are left with] a health economics version of voodoo: they’ll invoke the magic of the market to somehow provide insurance so cheap that everyone will be able to afford it whatever their income and medical status. This is obvious nonsense; I think even Paul Ryan knows that he’s lying like a rug. But it’s all they’ve got.