Ross Douthat Strikes Back

I know he’s taken quite a beating around these parts, but I really liked Ross Douthat’s latest column, which endorses the same Singapore-style approach to health insurance that E.D. championed earlier (Is there any doubt that important New York Times columnists read the League?).

A lot of what Douthat writes is vulnerable to charges of wishful thinking.  But I think we’re going to have to address the problem of containing health care costs (as distinct from the problem of covering the uninsured) sooner rather than later, so crafting some sort of bipartisan consensus in favor of universal catastrophic health insurance strikes me as a worthy starting point.

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3 thoughts on “Ross Douthat Strikes Back

  1. Ross should have had an idea months ago. But he spent August writing about “death panels,” abortion, tea parties and the prospect of the Republicans winning the house in 2010. Proposing an actual policy now just smacks of sour grapes – like Chuck Grassley saying that it’s now time to incorporate his ideas into health reform.

    Obama bent over backwards (and bent over the country) to incorporate “bipartisanship” in this bill. Next time Ross gets a seat at the table, he shouldn’t flip over his cereal bowl repeatedly then say he wants to eat just as the rest of the family’s done eating.

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  2. I draw an analogy between health reform and the Israel/Palestine conflict. A two-state solution might not seem sustainable to some of us (worked out great for the other I/P divide, right?) but there’s been near agreement within that framework to the point that inertia makes it the way to go. There’s agreement among most of the affected parties that building on the existing infrastructure and horse trading universal coverage and subsidies for regulating the quality/cost of coverage is at least an improvement. Various people rightly think that Widen/Bennett, Medicare-for-All, or a Singapore/Swiss/Dutch-class model are objectively better, but the odds of coming to a consensus on the best better plan are extremely low.

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  3. For expenses paid out of HSAs, below the threshold for triggering single-payer under Douthat’s and DeLong’s proposals, it would be useful to have cost-pooling (as opposed to risk-pooling) arrangements. One such arrangement might be a resurrected form of lodge service, particularly like what that guy in New York is offering (coverage of all procedures they can cover on an outpatient basis in their own facilities, for $79/month plus $10 per office visit).

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