Friday, October 21, 2005

Maine and Medicaid

According to Village Soup, "Medicaid costs in Maine have grown by $260 million annually for the last three years."

Though a liberal-to-moderate politically, former Maine Governor Angus King brings his business background to bear with keen insight:

“We’ve turned the consumer-driven system, which leads to reasonably priced phone bills and automobiles, absolutely on its head,” [King] said.

“There’s no information about price … and most of us are insured and our employers are paying the premium, so we’re immune to it. Until people participate in the decisions financially, they’re not going to take the cost seriously.”

The former governor also would like to see healthy people get a break on their insurance rates.

“We’re so afraid of violating the social insurance principle that there’s no advantage to people being healthy,” King said. “Why should people who decide not to smoke pay the same as the people who do smoke? We’ve taken the personal responsibility piece from all this.”

While I know that the last thing anybody in Augusta would do is to open up health care to an entirely libertarian free-market system, it is rather encouraging that some on the panel are openly discussing a strategy of taking advantage of market forces to help solve a social problem, rather than trying to thwart market forces. Thwarting market forces almost always engenders terrible unintended consequences. Like $260 million annual growth.



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