Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Incentivizing Wellness

Wow. I just read at Carpetbagger’s that Giuliani has come up with a great idea to solve our healthcare problem: Provide incentives for people to not get sick. That’s right. He nailed the problem on the head with this one.

I quote:
Currently, he said, “there is no incentive to wellness.”

Of course! Because under the current system, people don’t care if they get sick at all. They stand out in the cold rain, eat rotten chicken, and be born with a predisposition for cancer and other inherited diseases. And why? Because they know that Big Daddy Insurance will take care of everything and make them all better.

But if we sweetened the pot a little bit, like say by giving people a $15,000 tax break for their own healthcare, why, people would finally have some reason for not getting diabetes and heart disease. Heck, it might be enough that I decide to stop being morbidly obese! And to think, I was just about to have my doorways widened.

The details on how this tax break provides any incentive is still a bit sketchy, as people wouldn’t be keeping any of this money for themselves. And if it were really possible to just decide to stay healthy, people would simply not buy any insurance at all. Why pay $15k for health insurance for a meager tax savings, when you could save the whole amount? That’s what the uninsured already do, which is why they’re uninsured. So it sounds as if this would really just be a small subsidy for people who were already paying for their own insurance, while doing nothing for those who couldn’t afford it in the first place.

But whatever. The devil is always in the details, and I hate the devil. All I care about is that someone is finally making it advantageous to stay healthy, and I like it. I think I’ll avoid getting that leprosy after all.

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