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May 03, 2013

Teh Krugman Swerves Into A Point On The Oregon Medicaid Study

... of course, it wasn't one he intended to make.

Courtesy of Phillip Klein, who Ace also linked in today's earlier post on the Oregon Medicaid study, comes this excellent pummeling of Former Enron Adviser Paul Krugman (emphasis added):

In attempt to mock conservatives’ reaction to the landmark study finding that Medicaid coverage did not improve physical health outcomes, Paul Krugman snarks that “Fire Insurance is Worthless! After all, there’s no evidence that it prevents fires.” Actually, fire insurance would be a pretty good model for health insurance.



As Klein notes, conservative health reform plans have, for years, sought to make health insurance more like a real insurance product and less like a healthcare prepayment plan. This is why we've favored tax-preferred health savings accounts (HSAs) coupled with high-deductible catastrophic health insurance plans.

As Klein states,

Free market health care policy analysts have long argued for a catastrophic approach to health insurance. If health insurance were like other types of insurance, it would protect beneficiaries against financial strain due to unexpected medical expenses, but it wouldn’t cover routine costs. Monthly premiums would be much lower in this case and individuals could put money in health savings accounts to pay for qualified medical expenses.

If anything, the findings in the Oregon study make the case for such an approach much stronger. ...

Why yes. Yes they do.

But leftists like Krugman have long played a cutesy little game where they conflate comprehensive health insurance coverage with actual healthcare services as if the two things are the same.

They are not.

The dollar one-coverage "health insurance" product that the Krugmans of the world have been advocating for interferes with the market pricing mechanism for health care services. Since the consumer of healthcare doesn't bear the cost of providing it, this lack of transparent pricing drives costs ever higher without being bounded by anything even approaching a cost/benefit approach to the services being consumed.

Meanwhile, the market pricing mechanisms for elective healthcare services like cosmetic surgery and Lasik, where health insurance isn't involved and the consumer has a cost/benefit decision to make, work to produce the right quantity and quality of these services at appropriate prices.

Why, it's almost like they're being guided by an invisible hand or something. Almost.

So, to counteract the forces of Econ 101,

Unfortunately, President Obama’s national health care law takes the opposite approach. Starting next year, Americans will be mandated not just to obtain health insurance, but to obtain insurance that’s comprehensive enough to meet the specifications of the federal government.

Of course. Of. Course.

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posted by Andy at 04:30 PM

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