Friday, July 24, 2009

WSJ Cites Healthcare "Losers"

The Wall Street Journal has an article today about the “hidden losers” in the proposed health care reform bill. Given that Congress doesn’t actually have a proposed health care reform bill, their discussion seems a little prescient, but the WSJ is seldom insistent about basing its discussion on facts so...

One group that “loses” is young people, according to the WSJ, because the premiums that insurance companies will be allowed to charge is not as low for them as it should be. “The House and Senate bills do let insurers set premiums based on age, but only up to a 2-to-1 ratio, versus a real-world ratio of 5 to 1.” The young are five times healthier, so they should only pay one-fifth as much in premiums.

The WSJ apparently doesn’t think that young people, suffering now, are ever going to become older people, benefiting then. Well, nobody ever accused the WSJ of overthinking an issue.

Seems to me, based on WSJ reasoning, to the extent that the WSJ is capable of reasoning, that people with diabetes or cancer should pay much higher premiums that people who are healthy. Probably not.

I sort of question both their hyphenated 2-to-1 ration and their unhyphenated 5 to 1 ratio, since I was about 70 times more healthy as a young person than I am now. Of course, I drank heavily as a youth, so I’m not altogether certain how unhealthy I was back then.

I believe that everyone should start paying premiums as soon as they start working, and that everyone should pay exactly the same premium regardless of age, state of health, genetic makeup or, I don’t know, eye color. Oh wait, we do that now; it’s called Medicare. Maybe we could adjust the premium and have it start providing medical care earlier.

Pay higher Medicare? Horrors. You might be more willing to consider that if, while the Republicans and the WSJ are screaming at you about the higher taxes, they were not drowning out your thoughts about “no insurance premiums” and “no medical bills.”

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