Monday, October 22, 2007

"Consumer Driven" Health Care Is More Than High Deductibles & HSAs

The Journal Sentinel is fronting an interesting article today on recommendations for comprehensive health care reform coming out of the Committee for Economic Development (CED), which is a group that includes business leaders from around the country.

The article does a good job of explaining how the CED recommendations reject the notion that the only competition that's needed in the health care market is at the point of care. Instead, due to the existence of third-party payers, the CED backs re-working the market so that insurers are put into direct competition for participants rather than working through the employment system.

As the full CED report explains:
The earlier discussion of CDHPs expressed doubt that consumers could drive health-care efficiency by shopping for lower prices for individual treatments and therapies for serious illnesses. However, consumers could have meaningful influence on the health-care market by shopping in a more deliberate fashion for cost-efficient health-care plans.
The JS astutely recognizes the connections between this proposed model and the Healthy Wisconsin plan pushed by legislative Dems over the summer.

Both proposals involve individuals using a fixed publicly-financed credit to select from a grouping of plan options that vary in price -- individuals would pay the difference if the plan costs more than the credit -- and both employ a payroll-driven funding mechanism (an income tax mechanism similar to the "cash out" option proposed by Sen. Wyden is also listed as an option).

In a fairly obvious attempt at "balance," the article misstates the link between Healthy WI and a "Medicare-for-all" model that's rejected by the CED. While Healthy WI does include a public fee-for-service option, that option is just one of many that consumers could select, and in all likelihood it would be among the most costly -- and therefore least chosen -- of the options.

But, overall, the article did a nice job of pointing out that a good chunk of the national business community recognizes there's more to consumer-driven health care than high deductibles and HSAs, and the government is needed to fundamentally re-work the system to maximize the full competitive potential that's in the multi-layered health care market.

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Anonymous Citizen Michael Bina said...

From George Washington: "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

From Seth Zlotocha: "Government is needed to fundamentally re-work the system to maximize the full competitive potential that's in the multi-layered health care market"??! May the FORCE be with you, Seth. (And may YOU be the first forced to comply with mandatory, government regulated colonoscopies - not for preventive purposes, but just to see what else you're thinking.) What up, Doc?

October 24, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Keep looking for 200 year old quotes to defend your positions on current public policy issues, Michael. Who knew GW was such a health care policy wonk?

But, if you want to start a quote duel, here's one from Thomas Jefferson: "The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

Think ensuring adequate and affordable health care falls under that definition of good government? Most of the country today thinks so.

October 24, 2007  
Anonymous michaelbina said...

and just for grins, what's your position on abortion, mr jefferson?

October 24, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

I'm not sure how Jefferson felt about abortion (the link you're trying to make there is, of course, dependent upon how you define "human life"); but I know how the majority of the country feels about a woman's right to choose it.

October 24, 2007  
Anonymous michael bina said...

I'll speak directly - without being too clever for my audience: What is YOUR position on abortion, Mr. No Destruction of Human Life?

October 24, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Abortion isn't a choice I would recommend unless the woman's health is at risk or in cases of rape/incest. But I also believe that a woman should have the ability to choose for herself whether to have a previability abortion performed on her body, which certainly includes choosing not to do so.

And referring to me as "Mr. Jefferson" simply because I quoted him was clever? It just seems to me to be an awfully awkward way to make a point.

October 24, 2007  

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