JEFFREY SINGER: Health Care’s Third-Party Spending Trap: Contrary to “conventional wisdom,” health insurance—private or otherwise—does not make health care more affordable. My experiences tell me something is terribly wrong with the prices in medical care. This article does a good job in explaining why.
This isn’t to say we don’t need health insurance. Health insurance that covers truly unforeseen, costly catastrophic occurrences makes sense for most people. As does life insurance, property and casualty insurance, and auto insurance. But health insurance that covers routine, predictable events isn’t really insurance. It’s prepaid health care. And it is driving up prices for everyone with everyone else’s money.
Policymakers need to understand that the key to “affordable health care” is not to increase the role of health insurance in peoples’ lives, but to diminish it.