Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Redistributing health


Alan Reynolds at the Cato Institute explains why the current health care “reforms” are really about redistributionist policy:

Health-care “reform,” that is, aims to shift costs and benefits of health insurance from some groups to others. And the losers are turning out to be less docile than politicians had hoped.

All the leading proposals involve massive redistribution from people with healthy lifestyles to those who take more risks. As the Congressional Budget Office explained, “Premiums in the new insurance exchanges would tend to be higher than the average premiums in the current-law individual market… because the new policies would have to cover pre-existing medical conditions and could not deny coverage to people with high expected costs for health care.”

That is, because the politicians want people who’ve already fallen ill to be able to buy insurance at the same rates as the healthy, rates would rise for everyone who has insurance now. That’s why the bills would all force healthy people to buy this overpriced insurance, under threat of fines or prison.

There would also be redistribution from people with employer-paid insurance (particularly in risky jobs with high premiums) to those who would be induced to shun such benefits in order to qualify for taxpayer subsidies.

By far the largest redistribution, however, is from those on Medicare to those who’d become newly eligible for Medicaid or federal subsidies.

The major proposals, the AARP Bulletin explains, “include around $500 billion in savings carved from future growth in Medicare spending over a 10-year period.”

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