McCain takes brave stand on health insurance reform… again

The media is applauding John McCain for his “maverick moment” in killing Trumpcare.

I’m no huge fan of John McCain, but I want to note that this is not the first time that McCain has taken a brave stand on health insurance.  Back in 2008, when he was running for President, he proposed eliminating the tax deduction for employer-provided health plans.

Economists agree that the tax deduction is a major reason that our health care system is so screwed up:

  1. It’s a huge government give-away, and it disproportionately benefits people who make a lot of money (since their health plans are typically more costly). #welfarefortherich
  2. By linking employment and health insurance, it creates uncertainty and anxiety for anyone who is sick and/or unemployed.  (And then the economy gets gummed up with people who are afraid of leaving their jobs because of concerns about health insurance.)
  3.  It encourages the over-consumption of health care by putting one more entity between the consumer and the entity that is paying for that health care. (consumer -> employer -> insurance company -> provider group -> health care provider)

I’m unaware of any other Presidential candidate – from either party – who’s been willing to take that brave stand.  What did McCain get for his bravery back in 2008?  Barack Obama hammered him with fear-mongering ads that called the plan “radical.”

“I don’t care about health insurance….[I] really care about health CARE.”

Russ Roberts makes the distinction in a conversation with political scientist John Teles.

But I would take it even further.  I don’t care about health insurance.  I don’t care about health care.  What I do care about is health.

Our public policies (and private actions) are often oriented around procuring insurance and care, rather than achieving and maintaining health itself.  How would the world be different if we all pursued health first, and health insurance and health care were only a means to that end?

Gateway drug to heroin? Percocet and oxycontin

From NPR: Doctors over-prescribe opioids like Percocet and OxyContin.  Patients get addicted.  Regulations restrict access to prescription drugs.  Addicts turn to heroin. Heroin deaths increase.

Again, it’s not clear what the greater health menace is – legal drugs or illegal drugs.

But thank goodness this all started with “a doctor who meant well”…