Open Thread: Questions on Healthcare
As we head towards our town hall meetings in the state of Rhode Island where the subject of healthcare reform will be a major issue, here is the big picture question regarding the proposals currently under consideration by Congress: The President and Congressional Democrats are promising that by expanding the Federal role in healthcare regulation (including an individual mandate and various tax penalties on both individuals and companies that don’t provide insurance), increasing subsidies and maybe creating a government-run insurance company — all while simultaneously leaving the Federal tax and regulatory advantages that corporately purchased insurance plans hold over individually purchased insurance plans in place — they will…
- Is the answer reduce healthcare costs? If so, could the public be provided with a few examples to use as a model from economic history where Federalizing regulation, providing subsidies, and mandating spending has brought down the cost of something?
- Is the answer expanded coverage? If so, could the public be provided with a few examples (in broad terms) of the kinds of regulations that will needed to achieve this goal, and why a vastly-expanded Federal regulatory structure for healthcare is needed to implement them?
- Would a government-run insurance company be granted the same legal protections that employer-based plans currently enjoy, and not be held legally responsible for the consequences of erroneous decisions to deny treatment? If so, how will this not lead to a competitive pricing advantage over the non-employer based plans sold through a government “exchange” (which presumably would be held responsible for the consequences of their mistakes) and eventually to predatory pricing on the part of the government-run company?