The Musings of Gary M. Zeiss

Health Care Reform and Competitiveness

Posted on: March 16, 2009

One has to wonder when corporate America is going to wake up and get behind a single-payor or hybrid health care system.  While this may go against the DNA of most senior management teams, the burden of dealing with employee and retiree health care has brought some of our most significant companies to their knees.

Ultimately, the employer-funded, market-based system has been a paragon of inefficiency and high cost.  Furthermore, accessibility is uneven at best, impossible at worst.  The system is clearly broken for a large number of Americans, and breaking for an even larger number.

That’s not to say that single-payor (or a single payor hybrid) doesn’t create its own inefficiencies, but the shorter overall lifespan and poorer overall health that we suffer with nationally does not speak well about the private market.

The other problem here is that insurance is intended to address risk issues.  However, health problems, particularly serious ones, are the product of uncertainty, not risk.  And risk and uncertainty are not the same thing.

In general, an individual can control risk by taking actions to limit it.  Actions, such as stopping smoking, limit such risk.  However, individuals cannot control uncertainty – no one knows if or when they will be hit by a car, have a heart attack or get stricken with cancer.  It is these uncertainties that the government should cover.

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  • Mike: I was just speaking to a friend in DC that was explaining the same thing to me. The firm he's been clawing his way to the middle of for the last 7 ye

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