Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Knockin' Wood

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that is. As is typical of such endeavors, when the facts don't support one's preconceived conclusion, just change the subject.
In this case, the Urban Institute doesn't much like free market solutions to health care and/or health insurance issues, so they decided to pick on the one product that is generally perceived to be the most useful in both reining in costs and insuring more people: consumer driven health care plans.
Here's how they characterize consumer-centric health care:
As we've already demonstrated here at IB, none of these conclusions are valid.
Let's take them one at a time:
Fallacy #1: "attractive to people with high incomes." While this may be true (certainly folks with money are likely to want to keep more of it), it implies that folks with lower incomes don't find these plans attractive. As we've previously noted, "75% of its HSA enrollees have an income of $50,000 or less, with 27% reporting a net worth of less than $25,000.” Those folks aren't exactly "high rollers."
Fallacy #2: "those with expected low use of health care services" Again, it's obvious that those who have few health care needs have little use for needlessly expensive health insurance, so of course they'd find HDHP's attractive. But as Bob has repeatedly pointed out, those who have moderate to even heavy use of health care also benefit from plans which eschew costly "extras."
Fallacy #3: "unlikely to decrease significantly the number of uninsured" Of course, this one's the silliest of all, since high deductible plans have lower premiums than their expensive co-pay counterparts, so are more affordable to those who are uninsured, and since the plans have higher deductibles, it seems more likely that those with more health problems (up to a point, of course) will be more likely to make it through underwriting.
Catch that? "HSA's allow patients to make prudent decisions for themselves." That's the whole crux of the matter: the liberal vision assumes that the gummint is best suited to make those decisions for us. The pragmatic, sensible vision is that we are the ones best suited to make them for ourselves.
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