Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jeffrey Flier tellin' it like it is

The Dean of Harvard Medical School on health care. Rightly, he does not seem to be a raving fan of even more government involvement.

First, there is our inefficient and inequitable system of tax-advantaged, employer-based health insurance. While the federal tax code promotes overspending by making the majority unaware of the true cost of their insurance and care, the code is grossly unfair to the self-employed, small businesses, workers who stick with a bad job because they need the coverage, and workers who lose their jobs after getting sick.

This employer-based system arose not by thoughtful design but as an unforeseen result of price controls during World War II and subsequent tax policy. How this developed and persisted despite its unfairness and maladaptive consequences is a powerful illustration of the law of unintended consequences and the fact that government can take six decades or more to fix its obvious mistakes.


Second, identify and eliminate the many barriers to entry and innovation in the health care and insurance marketplace. Eliminating what are often hidden barriers to competition will encourage entrepreneurs to offer lower-cost ways of financing and delivering health care, approaches that will deliver greater health care value for the dollars spent.


Anonymous said...

Great article, thanks