Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Three separate matters of consideration

Justin Hohn succinctly lays out the three components of the public-policy issue we're calling "health care." Getting clear about the distinctions between them would, one would think, be the logical starting point for society-wide and particularly legislative discussions about the subject:

Firstly—health insurance is not health care. Insurance companies do not provide health care. Care comes from medical professionals like doctors and nurses and other aides that assist them. Care is what is consumed by a healthcare consumer.
Health insurance is a scheme of risk mitigation. The idea of insurance is to protect a consumer from financial ruin associated with a costly medical care event or series of events. At least that's how it once worked. Now, health insurance is the primary middleman in complicated scheme of regulation, welfare, and payment approvals. It is the only form of insurance commonly purchased or discussed that is 1) often linked to employment status or employer benefits, and 2) used mostly as a payment scheme rather than an insurance scheme.
Finally, there is the element of wealth transfer or welfare.  This is one of the government's primary roles in our health care system. It is a substantial contributor to the mess our system is in.

As he points out in the conclusion of his post, there are a lot of people with a vested interest in blurring the lines between these concepts, and woefully few willing to insist on clarity.


  1. 3 problems with clarit)y(provisional, there may be more: 1) clarity is in the eye of the beholder (like the global warming issue); in a democracy, clarity takes a back seat to, for lack of a more precise term at present, popularity; 3)as a government of laws, not men, clarity in the law as it has developed (aka stare decisis) trumps clarity of individual thought, however brilliant the individual may think he or she is. As I said, there may be more, but no fewer problems with so-called "clarity."

  2. It's far more simple than you're making it.

  3. Easy as 1) through 3), though I did not label 2). Nothing is that simple when it comes to the law, and, of course we realize that that is what we are a government of-- laws (more apt term would be lawyers, who Shakespeare suggested we kill in bulk in Richard IV, Part 1, or was it Part Deux? Nor was Jesus the Christ at all fond of them He said woe unto.

  4. Sure it's that simple. You don't have to bring the law or Richard IV or Jesus into it at all.