Monday, April 10, 2006

MA health plan

Massachusetts has passed a new health plan which requires people to buy health insurance, lightly taxes businesses that don't offer health insurance, and offers a complex schemes of subsidies and transfers so these new plans will actually appear.

My wife works at BMC, which is the busiest ER in the city and takes the vast majority of uninsured people who use the ER as their primary care facility.

The majority of their patients are people who fundamentally do not take responsibility for their own healthcare. They do not clean their teeth -- leading to tooth abscesses, they do not take their medications, they do not control their diet, and they do not, in any way, try and maintain their health.

While some of the cost for this behavior falls on the tax payer, the vast majority of the cost falls on the patients themselves. Arnold believes that patients should be less insulated from the true costs of their healthcare. Given that much of the cost falls on the patients themselves, through poor health outcomes, I'm not sure how much more cost they will have to bear to alter their behavior.

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