The Affordable Care Act is based on the belief that our current system of health care is a mess and only the government can fix it efficiently. This...
Very good ideas. However, reform ideas seem to always cover only preventative or planned medical expenses that can easily be subjec to competition: flu shots or a likely uncomplicated childbirth. It is much harder to price-shop an emergency angioplasty, for example, or save money by doing without anesthesia. Worse, health-care costs are regressive. Tax credits or insurance coverage that starts to kick in at 100% when expenses such as copays reach a certain proportion of family income might help. Because if these problems are not solved at when the expenses are incurred, they will be solved basically by bankruptcy.
With the future of the Affordable Care Act resting on the decision of the Supreme Court as early as next week, the future of American health care generally is up in the air. If the Act (or significant portions of it) is struck down, there will be a legislative rush to erect something new from its rubble. Unfortunately, hasty legislation is often bad legislation, so we need to consider alternatives now.
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