Archive for September 1st, 2009

A Feature, Not a Bug

The Denver Post this morning reports on Sen. Bennet’s town hall in Pueblo, and on a Denver Chamber of Commerce poll (PDF) on Coloradoans and health care, excuse me, health insurance.   Sen. Bennet seems to have remained an inscrutable non-entity when it comes to actual policy issues, but the DCC report provides at least a little insight, both into how Coloradoans feel about their coverage and reform efforts, and how the Denver Chamber thinks

While ignoring the 77% of respondents who believe they have “good or excellent” care, Lynn Bartels focuses on the 26% who have “skipped a recommended medical test, prescription, treatment in the past 12 months for you or a family member due to cost.”  But neither the Post‘s crack reporters nor the Chamber’s summary addresses either double-counting (a “yes” counts for either the husband or the wife), or the seriousness of the treatment foregone.  Consider four families of four, 16 people in all, and one person questioned in each.  If only one person out of the 16 has foregone care, the result of this question will show a 25% positive, even though only 6% of the people covered by the question actually did without.

Sen. Bennet did, apparently, show some Doomsday slides about the wreck our economy and personal finances become if costs continue to rise at current rates.  Naturally, the idea that individuals, deciding not to pay for certain procedures, or to negotiate down the prices, might actually help bring about cost control, has never entered his mind.  To that extent, the decision of some people to do without rather than pay the insurance- and government-subsidized prices, which are largely fictional in any case, is a feature of what reform should look like, not a bug.

The other striking point is that while the Chamber opposes mandates for its members, it’s ok requiring an individual mandate.  The larger business members that compose the Chamber have always been good at externalizing costs.

One question: when will the Post get around to linking to original source material when it’s available online?  They almost never do this, for some reason.

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