International comparisons underrate American health care. This is partly because these comparisons give insufficient weight to the fact that most of the new drugs to treat major diseases originated in the US, along with many of the new surgical procedures … The US is also much more generous than other countries, such as Great Britain and France, in making expensive surgeries and drugs available to older persons through Medicare and private insurance.
Becker does, however, have a few suggestions for making the system better:
1) Eliminate the link between employment and the tax advantage of private health insurance.
2) Encourage the spread of HSAs that encourage consumers to economize on unnecessary medical expenditures.
3) Reform medicare while greatly increasing the generosity of Medicare drug coverage.
4) Require everyone to buy private catastrophic health care insurance.
Needless to say, item four stuck in my craw when I first read it. As I have said many times before, I’m no fan of health insurance mandates. However, as mandates go, this is the least offensive variety.
That is to say, Becker’s mandate would not require people to buy what Arnold Kling correctly calls health insulation. It would require people to buy a cheap policy that would cover huge, anomalous health disasters.
His mandate proposal nowithstanding, Becker’s take on health reform is objective and refeshingly free of moral posturing. And, if followed, his reform suggestions would do a lot of good.
[HT Healthcare Economist]