How Much Would Medicare Prime Cost?

In 2018, expenditures by Medicare and Medicaid combined grew 4.9%. To put these rates in perspective, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew only 2.9% that same year. Medicare and Medicaid expenditures have grown faster than the U.S economy for a long time. Needless to say, this situation is not sustainable indefinitely. Eventually the growth ofContinue reading “How Much Would Medicare Prime Cost?”

The Lone Economist Does the Urban Institute Study

I was all set to discuss the estimated cost of Medicare Prime (MP), my alternative proposal that would achieve many of the same goals as Medicare For All (MFA), but at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers. Then I looked at the detailed report of the $32 trillion 10-year cost estimate of MFA byContinue reading “The Lone Economist Does the Urban Institute Study”

The Medicare Prime Deductible

To fully appreciate the costs and benefits of Medicare Prime (MP), we need to explore its possible budgetary and distributional effects. There are several factors to be considered. One is how much the deductible would vary with income and other household characteristics. There are an endless number of possible formulas to determine a household’s MPContinue reading “The Medicare Prime Deductible”

It’s the Perspective, Stupid

Medicare Prime (MP) is my proposal for a health insurance system that would avoid many of the problems created by our current one. One of its proposed features is the classification of healthcare providers into two camps: in-network and out-of-network. The benefits of this bifurcation of providers deserve further explanation. As explained in a previousContinue reading “It’s the Perspective, Stupid”

How to Lower Health Insurance Premiums

Continuing our outline of Medicare Prime (MP), an “optimal” public health insurance system based on economic principles and data-driven research, we explore one of its benefits for middle-income households, i.e. lower premiums. Why Insurance Premiums Are So High In an earlier post I explained how Medicare and Medicaid (M&M) affect the private insurance market. M&MContinue reading “How to Lower Health Insurance Premiums”

Medicare Prime

Our quest for an optimal health insurance system is starting to come into focus. It would have several features in common with Medicare For All (MFA), Obamacare, and The Public Option (TPO), but with a few critical differences. Like MFA, it would be financed entirely through taxation, not premiums. It would recognize a minimally-acceptable levelContinue reading “Medicare Prime”

Can Public and Private Health Insurance be Complimentary?

Two substitute goods each satisfy the same need while not enhancing the benefit of consuming the other. For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi both satisfy the need for a cola-flavored soft drink. Most people either consume one or the other. Few people like to combine the two. And because they are substitutes, their suppliers are naturalContinue reading “Can Public and Private Health Insurance be Complimentary?”

How to Close the Coverage Gap

I’ve written several posts explaining the twin problems of health insurance: adverse selection and moral hazard.  Rather than solve these twin problems, the two main health insurance proposals, Medicare For All (MFA) and The Public Option (TPO), would exacerbate them. MFA would solve adverse selection by providing health insurance to everyone without premiums or out-of-pocketContinue reading “How to Close the Coverage Gap”

The Cost of Obamacare

Private health insurance alone can never provide protection for all Americans. People with pre-existing medical conditions (including old age) will not be able to afford the premiums charged to them and healthy, risk-neutral people will find the purchase of private insurance too much of an unfavorable bet. To close this coverage gap, many government-financed solutionsContinue reading “The Cost of Obamacare”

A Brief History of Public Health Insurance in the US

Any discussion of the health insurance policy debate will benefit from some historical context. Prior to the 1960’s, the U.S. government had very little impact on the provision of health insurance. Virtually all health insurance was provided through private companies. For a private health insurance market to thrive, two conditions must exist.  The first conditionContinue reading “A Brief History of Public Health Insurance in the US”