The healthcare reforms we’ve been calling “Pelosicare” — because they’re such an incoherent hodge-podge of ideas that only the august US Congress could dream up — is actually three separate bills, each with different variations on the same theme.
The Washington Post notes one common thread though: they all will make it practically illegal to be uninsured. When you file your taxes you’ll have to prove some minimum level of care (though there will be rebates, naturally, for the poor)
Proponents of this idea liken it to car insurance; you can’t legally drive without being insured, but it’s not quite analogous.
Car insurance is mandatory because you, as a driver, pose risk to others on the road, and if you hit me, and you’re not insured, I’m screwed.
In the case of health insurance, the idea is to eliminate cherry picking and selection bias. The problem is that people who believe they’re more inclined to need health care will buy health insurance, while the insurers are searching for healthy people, while trying to steer clear of the sick. Theoretically this is solved by just creating one giant risk pool with no selection and no cherry picking.
It also has another benefit: insurance companies like it, and it’s the one thing that could get them on board. That’s not a mystery. Mandating insurance means more business for them, and since anti-cherry picking laws are a political reality, this is their quid-pro-quo.
This idea isn’t completely without merit, but it goes back to what we were arguing yesterday, that these so-called reforms are really about cementing and expanding the status quo, rather than moving us to the patient customer-centric, competitive healthcare system of our dreams.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.