Private health insurance?

by Russ Roberts on August 20, 2009

in Health

Tom, a reader with Hayekian sensibilities writes:

Imagine we had entirely private health insurance market – no Medicare or Medicaid.  If I live to be sixty-five, I will probably have a personal and/or family history that indicates a strong probability of developing an expensive chronic condition. I would wager that is true of almost all sixty-five year olds.

So here is my question: which insurer in their right mind would take on my risk?

I suspect none. Once philanthropy and savings were exhausted, I would surely risk a painful life and preventable death.

Do I want this? Does anyone? Isn’t “socialized” medicine for older people an unpleasant moral necessity for our wealthy society? Please note I am deeply suspicious of most arguments cast in moral terms in discussions of politics and economics. I ask these questions guardedly.

I encourage readers to ease Tom’s mind. Politely and thoughtfully, please. I think he is asking some very important questions.


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