Monday, September 14, 2009

Lots of material about health insurance

Here are links to a number of good recent articles about health insurance. Ezra Klein's blog at the Washington Post is an especially good place to follow this issue, both for policy discussions and updates on the political process. Nate Silver has been following the polling on the topic. Mark Thoma on his blog and the writers at Baseline Scenario have good economic analysis on many things, including occasional articles on health insurance.

I'm feeling optimistic that major reform is going to pass in the next two months. Legislation looks likely to include an individual mandate, expanded subsidies to lower income households, exchanges to make individual policies less expensive and more widely available, and a ban on exclusion due to pre-existing conditions. I hope cost controls such as the independent commission to review treatment effectiveness an independent board to set Medicare reimbursement rates can pass. The public option looks unlikely, but as the Thoma link below argues, the public option as proposed lacks a lot of the teeth that could make it an effective cost control. I hope the alleged states' rights advocates don't try to preclude states taking action independently to create their own public options.

Ezra Klein, channeling Newsweek channeling Ezra Klein, on why it would be beneficial for legal, taxpaying residents to have illegal aliens get health insurance.

Ezra Klein again on a state's choice option for a public health insurance option.

Mark Thoma channeling Ezra Klein and adding his own two cents on how the proposed public option is not the same thing as cost control.

Robert Reich with some history on attempts to provide universal health insurance in the US, from Truman to today, along with some political lessons learned.

James Kwak at Baseline Scenario on the continuing shrinkage of employer-provided health insurance. People who have employer-provided coverage today may feel that the Democratic proposals don't help them or, worse, that these proposals threaten their current coverage. The lesson is, they shouldn't count on the permanence of their current coverage, whether or not the proposed changes are enacted.

StatsGuy, a guest blogger at Baseline Scenario on rationing of health care, and why this would be a good thing.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight on polling people about "public option." Many people, including pollsters, don't know what it means. When people do understand what it means, a majority is in favor of a public option.

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