Is the an­swer Medi­care?

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - CASEY EITNER Castle­ton

Con­gress­man [Tom] Gar­rett’s sug­ges­tion that 70 year old men should be able to buy health in­sur­ance with­out ma­ter­nal care cov­er­age missed the whole point of in­sur­ance be­ing based on pool­ing risks across large pop­u­la­tions. Should women be able to get health in­sur­ance that does not cover erec­tile dys­func­tion treat­ment or prostate cancer? Risk pools across all health con­di­tions re­duce over­all costs for the par­tic­i­pants. Be­sides, 70 year old men don’t need pri­vate in­sur­ance — they have Medi­care which cov­ers all con­di­tions, male and fe­male, for its served pop­u­la­tion.

Mr. Gar­rett’s as­ser­tion that “we need to have a safety net be­cause this is Amer­ica and you shouldn’t be this pros­per­ous and have peo­ple slip into the cracks” is highly laud­able .

. . but just rhetoric un­less you have a vi­able plan for achiev­ing that. One thing he pro­poses is to “syl­lo­gize the high risk pool” (I think he means split out from the rest) for gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies. Again, this means tin­ker­ing with the con­cept of large risk pools where the rest of us who are health­ier should not pay into in­sur­ance that cov­ers those who are not. What hap­pens when we get less healthy? Or when some­one in the healthy risk pool gets re­ally sick? In any case, you then put the gov­ern­ment in the po­si­tion of de­cid­ing whom to sub­si­dize and whom not to.

We do have a plan in this coun­try that does not parse out less and more healthy, a plan where folks who make more money pay more and folks who make less money pay less. Of all the seg­ments of our health­care land­scape, it has had over the last twenty years the small­est cost in­creases and the largest im­prove­ment in health out­comes. Hos­pi­tals, drug com­pa­nies, doc­tors and de­vice mak­ers all profit quite nicely from it. It is called Medi­care. Maybe we should ad­dress Mr. Gar­rett’s laud­able goal by ex­tend­ing that plan to more peo­ple?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.