Monday, June 29, 2009

Lying while telling the truth

Ulman and Beilenson wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post about the Healthy Howard Access Plan. I found this anecdote interesting:

Our program has saved lives because of easy access to our network of specialists and participating hospitals. In one instance, a plan member who had been without insurance for years was having chest pains. She said it was the type of pain she would have tolerated before, but now that she has coverage, she went to the emergency room. She was immediately admitted and quickly had triple-bypass surgery; she has since fully recovered.

That sounds pretty impressive, but I’d like to hear more details about this. As we know, HHAP is not insurance. As such, there is no risk pooling and there are no reserves sitting around from which medical expenses can be paid. Therefore, someone (probably the patient) had to pay for this triple bypass surgery. Surgeries are already extraordinarily expensive thanks to unionized labor and government regulation in the medical field. Although I am sure the intent was not to intentionally mislead, Ulman and Beilenson presented this example in such a way that the average reader who is not well informed about HHAP would probably assume that the bypass surgery was performed at no cost to the patient. That ain't the case.


Anonymous said...


I knew you would eventually slip up. As a good libertarian, you should know that unionization is good provided both sides are willing participants at the bargaining table.

Love, HoCo Reason

Freemarket said...

Uh, no. What I said was that unionization in the medical field raises the prices of surgeries higher, which is true. The consumer usually has the option of using the services of a non-union plumber, electrician, or whatever. The consumer has no option for a non-union doctor.