Here’s the thing about health insurance: it’s insurance. Which means it’s a numbers game. And where insuring medical care for the American people is concerned, the logic of the numbers is simple: the more people covered, the better the system will run.
It’s not just that the more people in the pool the more efficiently national health costs can be distributed across the taxpaying population, and that does translate into lower per person costs.
Universal coverage can cut costs in more interesting ways.
The more people who are covered by insurance, the more definitive the medical data they generate, which can help providers and insurers monitor trends in who needs care for what. The planning this data can enable can make delivery of services more responsive and focus entrepreneurs on areas in need of innovation, and this, too, over time, can help contain costs.
For reasons best known to them, Congressional Republicans and President Trump have done everything they could to reduce and fragment the risk pool of health-insured Americans.
First Congress stripped the mandate from the Affordable Care Act, the federal tax charged those who fail to get health insurance. This has encouraged some young and healthy people to leave the pool, betting on their luck at staying out of medical need. It also offered an opportunity for people to use poverty as an excuse for improvidence.
Now, Trump, by executive order, has tossed a bone to the opters-out from the great big insurance pool. Unfortunately, it’s a bone meant to stick in your throat if you actually need coverage. The low-cost alternatives being pushed by the President not only fail to cover many common areas of need, they exclude the estimated 27% of America who have had cancer or heart disease of a long list of lesser ailments…a.k.a people with pre-existing conditions.
Trump-junk insurance covers so little that the risk for insurance companies is so small, that even at reduced premiums this is found money for them, even as it is sucker-bait for buyers.
My guest in the studio at our host station KSFR-FM is Colin Baillio, the Director of Policy and Communications at Health Action New Mexico, and one of the state’s most knowledgeable people when it comes to healthcare issues. How much of Obamacare has survived in New Mexico, and how can people on limited budgets get the best bang for their medical care bucks? Health policy, Medicare, Medicaid, midterm elections in depth.