Health Reform without Side Effects: Making Markets Work for Individual Health Insurance
Book Forum

The health care debate over the last year has included massive attacks by President Barack Obama and his administration against the practices of health insurance companies, particularly those selling policies to individuals. Is this criticism valid? At a time when the much-debated legislation has become a reality, Mark V. Pauly, a health economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, raises serious issues about the premises of the president’s criticism and the likely effects of the new legislation. In his book, Health Reform without Side Effects: Making Markets Work for Individual Health Insurance (Hoover Press, 2010), Pauly offers a realistic assessment of how much improvement can be demanded and expected. Pauly observes that the most frequently discussed alternative reforms reflect an excessively simplistic view of insurance markets, which leads to policies likely to drive out some of the beneficial features of the present market. He discusses how individual insurance markets currently fit into the overall pattern of health insurance markets, identifies what is distinctive about current performance in that market in comparison to the proposed reforms, and suggests that taking into account the current strengths of the individual market would yield much higher net benefits.

Responding to Pauly were actuary Tom Wildsmith, a senior consultant at the Hay Group, and John A. Nyman, a health economist and professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. AEI resident fellow Thomas P. Miller moderated. This event was cosponsored with the Hoover Institution.

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About the Author

 

Thomas P.
Miller
  • Thomas Miller is a former senior health economist for the Joint Economic Committee (JEC). He studies health care policy and regulation. A former trial attorney, journalist, and sports broadcaster, Mr. Miller is the co-author of Why ObamaCare Is Wrong For America (HarperCollins 2011) and heads AEI's "Beyond Repeal & Replace" health reform project. He has testified before Congress on issues including the uninsured, health care costs, Medicare prescription drug benefits, health insurance tax credits, genetic information, Social Security, and federal reinsurance of catastrophic events. While at the JEC, he organized a number of hearings that focused on reforms in private health care markets, such as information transparency and consumer-driven health care.
  • Phone: 202-862-5886
    Email: tmiller@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Neil McCray
    Phone: 202-862-5826
    Email: Neil.McCray@aei.org

 

Mark V.
Pauly

  • Mark V. Pauly is the Bendheim Professor in the Department of Health Care Management;  professor of health care management, insurance and risk management, and business and public policy at the Wharton School; codirector of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Life Sciences and Management Program; and professor of economics in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. A former commissioner on the Physician Payment Review Commission, Mr. Pauly has served on the advisory committee to the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and on the Medicare Technical Advisory Panel. He currently serves on the National Advisory Council for the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources, the National Academy of Sciences' Committee to Study the Veterinary Workforce, and its Committee on the Biomedical Workforce. He has been a consultant to the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (which supported some of his work on individual health insurance), and health trade associations. Mr. Pauly is a coeditor-in-chief of the International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics and an associate editor of the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.  


  • Phone: 2158986861
    Email: pauly@wharton.upenn.edu

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