US Should First Seek To Reduce Costs In Reforming Health Care System

Sep 5 2007 - 1:28pm

"Make no mistake, America has an uninsured problem," but most efforts to address the issue "focus obsessively one expanding health insurance coverage, despite the fact that many economists can find no evidence that it is a cost-effective way to improve health," Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, writes in a USA Today opinion piece.


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"Simply expanding coverage would have little effect on the quality of care, health disparities or how long we live, nor would it stop free-riders from shifting costs to others," Cannon writes,adding, "In fact, expanding coverage through government regulation or tax-and-transfer programs would make our problem worse."

According to Cannon, because more than 200 million U.S. residents "have public or employer-controlled coverage and all are essentially purchasing it with someone else's money," they "demand more coverage than they would if they were spending their own money." He writes, "If we want to increase access to health care, our first priority must be to contain costs.Nothing would help more than 200 million cost-conscious consumers."Cannon concludes, "Letting Americans own their health care dollars is the right thing to do. And as it happens, it would also cover a lot of the uninsured" (Cannon, USA Today, 9/5).

Reprinted with permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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