Code Red: Two Economists Examine the U.S. Healthcare System

November 11, 2009

I’m Convinced

Filed under: Health insurance,Health Reform,International Comparisons — David Dranove and Craig Garthwaite (from Oct 11, 2013) @ 1:29 pm

I want the Canadian healthcare system, with one proviso.  I want Canada to run it.

After last week’s vote in the House of Representatives, where the key issue in the health reform debate turned out to be coverage for abortion, it now seems that if Congress has its way, politics will infiltrate every corner of the healthcare system.  What services are covered, who can provide them, even how they are provided – the opportunities for meddling are endless.

The problem is not with the bold ideas that underlay the health reform proposals.  The problem is with our political system.  Party primaries in Gerrymandered Congressional Districts send political extremists from both ends of the spectrum to Washington, where they think that the issue of abortion rights is important enough to hold hostage an overhaul of a $2 trillion system.  In a parliamentary system, the parties need to govern from the middle.  The middle of the House of Representatives is an empty aisle.  We can only hope that the Senate keeps its sanity.

I remember one of the provisions of Clinton’s healthcare reform proposal that scared me stiff.  Clinton proposed his own version of the health insurance exchange in which consumers could choose from approved insurance plans.  The catch was that local appointed boards would be charged with granting approval.  So if you lived in Chicago, you would get to choose from insurers approved by the Mayor, the Governor, and the Cook County Board President.  I can see it now – the Combine Insurance Company.  And I can see even worse once Congress decides that since it is spending “its own” money on healthcare, it deserves to call the shots.

I want to thank the House of Representatives for shaking me out of my doldrums.  I am now convinced about the Canadian system.  If we tried it here, it would be a catastrophe.

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