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April 23, 2004

Political Healthcare

It's hard to understand why anybody would oppose socialized, government-run, universal healthcare when Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) puts it like this:

At the crux of any meaningful health-care reform must be a commitment from the government to act in the best interest of its citizens. A national template for this type of coverage already exists: the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). It manages health insurance for more than 8 million federal employees, retirees and dependents. This program, composed of private insurance carriers, is administered by the federal government, which assumes responsibility for approving or disapproving carriers, negotiating benefit and rate changes, and auditing carriers' operations under the law.

With administrative costs of less than 1 percent (compared with private-sector costs that can reach 30 percent), and a below-average annual premium increase, the government can offer a wide variety of choices and protections to its employees.

The system is funded by the taxpayers.

On second thought, how anybody can conclude from the political system and healthcare situation in Rhode Island that what is needed is further regulation and a government-run healthcare monopoly is beyond me. For some reason, this style of thinking seems to be related to that which believes that a system managing healthcare for 2.8% of the population — paid for by the other 97.2% — could simply be expanded to cover everybody.

Hey, if everybody's going to pay for everybody's healthcare, why not just insist that everybody pays for their own? That 1% (or whatever) administrative fee must be a powerful policy incentive...

Posted by Justin Katz at April 23, 2004 7:17 PM