As the debate over the future of health care in America rages on, some posit that the solution to controlling costs and guaranteeing health care to all lies with better regulating commercial health insurers. Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic that if Congress regulated health insurers more aggressively, as European governments do, it could ensure that Americans would not get high medical bills, How realistic is that?
The German and French systems are not perfect, but most people think of them as being far better than the US health care system. And yet, unlike the United Kingdom or Canada, where health care is government-administered, these countries rely on private health insurers to guarantee health care to their citizens.
Do these models provide a potential path forward for Americans? Khazan argues that they would put an end to some unexpected medical bills without doing away with the health insurance people don’t seem to want to give up. But, she doesn’t explain how they would address a host of other issues we face with for-profit health insurers in the US, including cost-shifting to people in poor health and wrongful delays and denials of care.
These practices all make our system unaffordable to many people who need care and too often leave people needing costly care without the care they need. But, it is hard to see how Congress could regulate these behaviors.
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