Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We Are All Uninsured

There are now 47 million Americans without health insurance - nearly one-sixth of the population. But as Boston University Economist Laurence Kotlikoff points out, the exposure to risk is much, much broader. In an op-ed titled "We Are All Uninsured Now," he writes:
...the rest of us with health coverage are also uninsured. We too face terrible, albeit more remote, healthcare risks -- the risk that our employer will drop our plan, that Medicare will go bust, that our plan won't cover our needs, that premiums will eat us alive, that our doctor will stop taking our insurance, that long-term care will wipe us out, and that our uninsured friends and family members will need major financial help.
If the point of insurance is to reduce individual risk by pooling it, the American "system" is failing all of us miserably. Kotlikoff offers a voucher scheme as a solution - I'm not sure its better than single-payer national insurance, but it would be an improvement on what we have now (its hard to imagine we could do worse!). (Hat tip to Economist's View).

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