Monday, March 15, 2010

Samuelson on Health

OpEd of the day: Robert Samuelson brings a few facts to bear on the health care reform debate. He cites, and links to, a variety of studies. Highlights:
  • It does not appear that the uninsured use emergency rooms more than the rest of us, or that insuring them made any difference in Massachusetts.
  • The evidence that insurance has a positive effect on health outcomes is inconclusive.
  • The current reform bill does nothing to address the flawed fee-for-service system.
  • Don't blame high insurance company profits: "In 2009, the largest 14 insurers had profits of roughly $9 billion; that approached 0.4 percent of total health spending of $2.472 trillion."
Samuelson's principal argument is that cost control, not universal coverage, is the real reform needed. Looking at the evidence, he concludes, "Obama's proposal is the illusion of 'reform,' not the real thing."

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