Health-Care Reform and You
I did an interview the other day with Adam Waxman at WireTap. We talked, as you might imagine, about health care. One of his final questions was from a category of questions I get fairly often: What's in it for my demographic group? In this case, the demographic group was the young. But it could be the pregnant, or the poor, or the insured, or the self-employed. The answer, I think, is that health care is sort of uniquely ill-suited to that type of analysis.
The reason we have health insurance, after all, is because we recognize that the young will someday turn old, the well might someday fall sick, and the rich might someday be poor. The point of the health-care system -- and in particular, of health-care reform -- is that it will be around when an individual is poor and rich, young and old, sick and well.
Thinking of yourself as having a very distinct identity in relation to the health-care system -- and particularly as having whatever relationship you have right now -- is the wrong way to understand the situation. Health-care reform doesn't have a lot to offer a healthy young i-banker. But it does have a lot to offer an i-banker who gets fired and then develops treatable cancer. It might not have a lot to offer an insured columnist for a major American newspaper. But it has a lot to offer that columnist if his newspaper goes belly-up and he has preexisting conditions. If you're the type of person asking what's in health-care reform for you, then the answer is probably nothing, unless your situation changes. But your situation very well might change.
August 10, 2009; 3:11 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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