Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Health Care House of Cards

I recently saw an estimate that health care costs are expected to rise at a rate of 10% per year for at least the next two years. The reason is simple. We have decided that everyone should have a right to health care. When a new technology, drug, treatment or aid comes out that can help people, they should have it, regardless of the cost. Of course prices are going to continue to rise. This only accelerates the push to have the government cover people who can't afford insurance. That number should grow exponentially under the current system.

At a 10% per year increase, 20 years from now, family insurance coverage would cost something in the neighborhood of $80,000 per year. Obviously this is not sustainable. Something has to give. You can cap prices and thereby halt innovation and invention, or you can change the system to where the receiver of the service pays at least a high enough percentage of the cost that they have some incentive to seek value. Right now, the incentive is to spend as much as you can. Otherwise you feel like a chump for paying all those premiums for other people's health care.

One way or another, the clock is ticking on our health care system. For better or for worse it's going to look very different in 2028.

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