Happy health care will be expanded


As we approach the beginning of enrollment efforts under the Affordable Care Act (Oct. 1) it has been fascinating to watch the political froth that this legislation has elicited. At times, the debate around the extension of basic health insurance to a broader section of the population resembles the arguments around gun control in the intensity of emotion. What is it in the American psyche that revolts from the concept of extending some measure of health insurance coverage (something many in the world consider a basic human right) to more low-income people who have been left behind by the employer-based health insurance system? For those of us whose employers provide it, we certainly rest easier knowing we won't be denied care or bankrupted by a medical emergency. Those who seem most unhinged by the idea of extending insurance benefits to more people are typically staunch proponents of the free market system - yet you could make a persuasive argument that the whole concept of insurance (spreading the cost of commonly shared, but unknown future risks across as wide a pool of participants as possible) may be one of the free market's greatest inventions. We pay the cost of care for the uninsured in any event (through higher healthcare premiums) - so why are so many against expanding a system that was designed to best manage this kind of cost sharing?

Dave Kleiber


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