Health care costs vs. coverage

These numbers seem significant:

These numbers come from YouGov and The Economist, and based on the source, I’m inclined to believe them. The full poll is here.

Health care inflation would appear to be a much bigger worry among the public than the number of uninsured. Of course, it’s not as if the issues are unrelated: The cost of health care is a giant part of the reason there are so many uninsured, so that priority might reflect, say, a faith that addressing the cost of health care inflation would naturally lead to more widespread coverage.

But regardless, this would seem to imply that the general direction of the health reform package goes in the wrong way. In the near-term, it’s far easier to increase coverage: You simply have to figure out what’s the least politically painful way to raise that revenue, and then spend it on more people than before. It’s far harder to disentangle the incentive systems that are leading to such a wastefully expensive health care system. But if you only increase coverage without figuring out costs, maybe all you do is bankrupt the country faster.

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