Wilson H. Taylor
A central premise of Senator Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency is that America is ready--this time--for sweeping health care reform. He has laid out a vision for reform that promises health insurance for (nearly) everyone, with coverage as good as that enjoyed by members of Congress. According to the campaign, the Obama plan would shift most of the 46 million uninsured Americans into health plans, strengthen employer-sponsored insurance, increase the efficiency of the health care delivery system, and save the average family $2,500 a year on their insurance premiums. These hopes are too audacious to be believed.
The Obama plan offers a host of policy proposals that, in the main, address the symptoms but not the underlying disease that afflicts the health care system. We surely could use some symptomatic relief. However, failing to address the perverse incentives that drive health care spending inexorably upward, making insurance unaffordable for millions and shaping (or misshaping) the practice of medicine, will leave us worse off than we are today. . . .
Joseph Antos is a Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at AEI.