It’s hardly an ideal campaign slogan, but this article in the Wall Street Journal makes a pursuasive case that insurance contributes to, rather than solves, our healthcare problems:

Most discussions about the rising cost of health care emphasize the need to get more people insured. The assumption seems to be that insurance – rather than the service delivered by doctor to patient – is the important commodity.

But perhaps the solution to much of what currently plagues us in health care – rising costs and bureaucracy, diminishing levels of service – rests on a radically different approach: fewer people insured.

You don’t need to be an economist to understand that any middleman interposed between seller and buyer raises the price of a given service or product.

…Insurance is all about betting against negative consequences and the insurance business model is unique in that profits depend upon goods and services not being provided.

…For that reason, the consequences of any insurance-based health-care model, be it privately run, or a government entitlement, are painfully easily to predict. There will be progressively draconian rationing using denial of authorization and steadily rising co-payments on the patient end; massive paperwork and other bureaucratic hurdles, and steadily diminishing fee-recovery on the doctor end.

It makes sense — one issue that I wish the author had discussed more was how state mandates make insurance itself more expensive. States that require that insurance cover certain types of procedures (like mental health care, etc) raise the cost of insurance and raise the prices associated with those procedures for those who don’t have insurance. Government has been a major contributor to our healthcare problems and one of the first steps to improving healthcare is to remove bad government policies that distort the market.