Yes, health care improves health
I don't think this is too difficult to understand, but perhaps I need to make it clearer: There's no contradiction between saying that "health insurance reduces mortality" and "health insurance doesn't close the disparity in life expectancy between the rich and the poor, or the educated and the uneducated."
Medical care doesn't work nearly as well as we'd like to think it does. But that's not the same thing as saying it doesn't work. There's a reason why we call ambulances at the first sign of chest pain and a reason why those of us with the market power to do so demand health insurance as part of our compensation. I've read quite a few studies on this subject, and even though I'm in my mid-20s and at low risk for pretty much every condition you can think of, I happily send my check to Kaiser Permanente every month, and you can bet I'll pick up the phone pretty fast if I find my chest tight and my breath short.
The same is true, I'll bet, for folks like Tim Carney who like to argue that medical care is ineffective as a way to argue against subsidizing health insurance for poor people. But for the record, the best evidence we have suggests that health-care coverage does much more for the health of poorer people than it does for the health of well-compensated, highly educated people like Carney. That folks like Carney use that evidence to continue a status quo in which they have health insurance and the poor don't is, I think, proof of how seriously they take their arguments on this score, and of what this discussion is really about -- and the answer isn't "improving the health of the population."
Posted by: justin84 | February 28, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JJenkins2 | February 28, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MainStreetMuse | February 28, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: will12 | February 28, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: johnincalifornia | February 28, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PattyP1 | March 1, 2011 7:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: MainStreetMuse | March 1, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse