Stossel On The Money

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 5, 2009

As usual:

The New York Times describes a key part of the House bill: “Lawmakers of both parties agree on the need to rein in private insurance companies by banning underwriting practices that have prevented millions of Americans from obtaining affordable insurance. Insurers would, for example, have to accept all applicants and could not charge higher premiums because of a person’s medical history or current illness”.

No more evil “cherry-picking.” No more “discrimination against the sick. But that’s not insurance. Insurance is the pooling of resources to cover the cost of a possible but by no means certain misfortune befalling a given individual. Government-subsidized coverage for people already sick is welfare. We can debate whether this is good, but let’s discuss it honestly. Calling welfare “insurance” muddies thinking.

Such “reform” must increase the demand for medical services. That will lead to higher prices. Obama tells us that reform will lower costs. But how do you control costs while boosting demand?

The reformers make vague promises about covering the increased demand by cutting other costs. We should know by now that such promises aren’t worth a wooden nickel. The savings never materialize.

And another good excerpt:

Listening to the health-care debate, I hear Republicans and Democrats saying it’s wrong to deny anyone anything. That head-in-the-sand attitude is why Medicare has a $36-trillion unfunded liability. It’s not sustainable — and they know it.

The biggest problem health care “reformers” face is that math seems to continue getting in the way.

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