Re the SCOTUS’s review of the health care reform case this week:
We don’t know where they’ll come out, and speaking of health care, it’s not healthy to be wringing hands and rending garments until their decision comes out in June. I suppose until then we can comfort ourselves with smart analyses like this one from health economist David Cutler. I noted the court’s confusion re externalities here, and Cutler expands on that and other examples of how poorly some of the justices appeared to understand the critical differences between health care and other product markets.
To his credit, Cutler breaks this down to WITTs v YOYOs*:
Follow this logic, and the destination is clear: we are not a society, but a collection of individuals. Don’t tell insurers to pool the healthy and sick; that is too dicey. Don’t worry about uncompensated care; it’s our constitutionally given right to pass on our costs to others.
There’s also an international dimension to all this. While recognizing that markets and laws are not the same across advanced economies, is it not at all relevant that every other advanced economy a) achieves comparable if not better health outcomes to ours and spends much less, and b) has either mandates, pooling, or regulations that perform similar functions (see here for overview)? I’m all for US exceptionalism, but common sense would dictate that such a sentiment is less inviting when the outcome is waste of resources and millions of uninsured.
*We’re-in-this-together vs. You’re-on-your-own.