Dr. Goodman’s article is a fantastic foray into the dark history organized medicine, culminating with a brutally honest assessment of the cartel that resulted. He gives a great preview of the good stuff in Greg Scandlen’s new book, Myth Busters: Why Health Reform Always Goes Awry, summarizing the oft-repeated myths we hear about healthcare economics thrown around like dogma.
Is this a good deal? If you are a high-income individual with a lot more than $10,000 in the bank, this product may not be for you. But if you tend to live paycheck-to-paycheck and have trouble saving for medical expenses, insuring against your deductible may make more sense than trying to fund it with a savings account.
Health Matching Services is a very innovative firm, but it has to struggle with tax laws and regulatory regimes that look like they were designed with no thought at all. And of course, the ridiculously high deductibles offered by primary insurers are the perverse result of Obamacare.
In a rational world, the tax law would provide a level playing field for premium payments and deposits to medical savings accounts. Competition in a secondary insurance market would provide consumers with many choices. For example, some might prefer to self-insure for the first $3,000 and buy the kind of secondary insurance described above for the remaining $7,000 gap.
Who knows? But for the perverse incentives of Obamacare and other insurance regulations, primary insurers might offer these choices. A secondary market for health insurance might not even be necessary.
“Only a few years ago, the party was united behind three reforms that are consistent with individual empowerment and limited government: (1) a universal health refund that transfers all government tax and spending subsidies to ordinary citizens each year with no strings attached other than the requirement that it be used for health care, (2) a flexible Health Savings Account that allows people to manage some of their own health care dollars and (3) pre-existing condition protection for people who lose their insurance because of government policies.
For well over a decade House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was a steadfast supporter of all three ideas, including replacing tax and spending subsidies for health care and health insurance with a universal tax credit. John McCain ran on these ideas in the 2008 election. The legislative embodiment of McCain’s plan was the Patients Choice Act, which Ryan cosponsored in 2009 along with Devin Nunes (R– CA) in the House and Tom Coburn (R–OK) and Richard Burr (R–NC) in the Senate.”
“The American Health Care Act (AHCA), proposed by the House leadership, was not about health care. It was about taxes. Over and over, Ryan said he needed to do health reform before tax reform. In particular, he said he needed to reduce Obamacare taxes by $1 trillion and to reduce spending by more than $1 trillion.As noted, a tax cut tied to health care is part of good health reform. But the Ryan tax cut wasn’t tied to health care. It consisted of repealing the very revenues that were funding Obamacare. (See below.) Since the tax cut took money out of the system, the spending cuts paired with it also removed money from the system.”
Remember how the Democrats did it. They created Obamacare behind closed doors. There was no real pubic vetting. No real attempt to make sure the pieces fit together in a sensible way. And no possibility of a single vote from the other party.
The House Republican Leadership seems enamored of that approach. The latest GOP replacement plan was announced last Monday after weeks of secrecy. The two relevant committees began their markup two days later – with no hearings, no vetting, no CBO score and no amendments.
It does not lower costs. It insures many fewer people. It does not stop the race to the bottom in the exchanges that is so harmful to the chronically ill.Instead, the GOP plan seems designed to make the individual market work better. That means helping Obamacare work better. For all the apparent differences, the Republicans are just as committed to the managed competition model as the Democrats were.
Alternatives to our current over-priced and dysfunctional health insurance market are often biased, and thus limited, by our current operational and regulatory structure. These structures are so entrenched in our healthcare psyche that it makes it difficult sometimes to set these aside in our minds while entertaining how another approach might work.
If we view all alternative plans to replace the Affordable Care Act from the vantage point of “what is”, then there is little room for anything other than attempts at further regulating the problems away. If one presupposes that the current regulatory framework remains unchanged, indeed the same framework has served to suppress the very market we wish create, then of course that market will not be created.
The dilemma facing alternative healthcare plans being considered to replace the ACA is particularly evident when it comes to the issue of selling health insurance across state lines. A brief on this subject published by the American Academy of Actuaries in February of 2017 speaks to the the main challenges facing the advent of a viable interstate market for the sale of health insurance.
If the United States adopted a similar approach to public policy, there would be no deficit problem in this country.
How the system works. In Singapore, people are required to save for health care, retirement income and other needs. They can use their forced saving to purchase a home, pay education expenses, and purchase life insurance and disability insurance. For individuals up to age 50, the required saving rate is 36% of income (nominally divided: 20% from the employee and 16% from the employer). Of this amount, 7 percentage points is for health care and is deposited in a separate Medisave account. Individuals are also automatically enrolled in catastrophic health insurance with a deductible of about US $1,172, although they can opt out. When a Medisave account balance reaches about US $34,100 (an amount equal to a little less than half of the median family income) any excess funds are rolled over into another account and may be used for non-health care purposes.
In 1984, Richard Rahn and I wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal in which we proposed a savings account for health care. We called it a Medical IRA.
Who is likely to negotiate the lowest fee with a doctor, hospital or some other health care provider? The federal government? A large employer? An insurance company? Or, a patient spending her own money? Strange as it may seem, the answer is often the patient. One of the most persistent myths on […]
Canadians coming to the United States (and paying a cash price upfront) were paying almost half as much as US employers were paying and even less than the typical payment by Medicare. Think about that. These patients not only lacked a big bureaucracy to bargain on their behalf; they were foreigners.
The other factor is third party payment. After the deductibles and copayments are exhausted (which is almost immediately in the case of a knee replacement) the only payer is the third party. The incentive of the hospital is not to lower charges, but to raise them. In fact hospitals typically try to maximize against third-party payment formulas and they have sophisticated computer programs to help them do it.
An individual patient, paying with his own money and willing to travel to another city for care, is a different kind of buyer. If the hospital wants his patronage, it has strong incentives to compete on price.
This very large insurance company, representing tens of thousands of people and their very large employer (the state of California), achieved a remarkable reduction in costs by doing nothing more than sending patients into the hospital marketplace with the knowledge that the money they had to spend totaled no more than $30,000.
Oh, I neglected to mention there is one class of customer that gets knee replacements for as little as one-fifth of what Medicare pays: the family dog. This is for a procedure that involves the same technology and requires the same basic surgical skills as knee replacements for humans.
Source: Free The Patient – Forbes
What do we mean by the term “market” and what do we mean by “government”?
As a first approximation, I am going to define the market as the sphere of activity where everything is voluntary. All trade is voluntary. All transfers of income and wealth among people are voluntary. I am going to define government as the sphere of activity where everything is coercive. Government puts limits on private behavior and enforces those limits by fines, taxes, imprisonment and even death. Also government may force private citizens to do what they otherwise would not have done – again, under threat of force.
So everything that is voluntary is a market activity. Everything that is coercive is a government activity.
The very idea of “failure” implies that we have an idea of what success looks like. In the economic realm, that idea is very well defined. An ideal economic arrangement is one in which people have exhausted all opportunities for mutually beneficial exchange. Once they have done that, there is no way to make one person better off without making someone else worse off. Such a condition is called Pareto Optimality.