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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: The Medical Care Reform Glass is Broken

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Medical Care Reform Glass is Broken

Janet Hook and Noam N. Levey (Los Angeles Times, "Senate Democrats get 60 votes to move healthcare bill along," December 21, 2009) describe Harry Reid's monumental accomplishment of guiding massive health care reform to the point of passage in the face of declining public support.  Apparently, elected officials supporting the legislation believe that the falling support comes from the left, people who believe that the legislation does not go far enough, or from independents, people who do not see the benefits that they will receive.   
...Democrats and the White House are intensifying efforts to reshape public perception of the bill as a glass half full, not half empty.
There is an alternative, that the medical care reform glass is broken.  David Brady of Stanford was interviewed by Russ Roberts on EconTalk ("Brady on Health Care Reform, Public Opinion, and Party Politics," August 24, 2009).  Brady gave two reasons why health care reform failed in the past based on research conducted with Daniel Kessler and published in the Health Affairs, August 18, 2009.  First, 83% of the population are satisfied with their own insurance.  Second, using contingent valuation, a type of survey that measures willingness to pay, they found that people are not willing to pay for providing universal coverage. 
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