Unlike me, Ezra Klein’s a professional blogger with the weight of The Washington Post behind him. As such, he gets to conduct interviews with some pretty cool people. Recently, one of those people was Jon Gruber, a health economist–some might say the health economist–at MIT. This is a person who knows all that is known about health care costs and who is involved in the current health reform efforts. You can read the full interview here, but I wanted to highlight the most interesting quotes that convince me that, while the legislation is far from perfect, there is plenty about health reform to be thankful for….
“What we know for sure the bill will do is that it will lower the cost of buying non-group health insurance. We know the Senate bill will significantly reduce the amount of money employers spend on health care insurance for so-called ‘Cadillac’ plans and increase the amount they spend on wages….$1,000 per household.”
“In terms of the [cost] curve, I think that here there is more uncertainty. We know we will be closer to bending the curve with this bill than without it. But we can’t promise this bill alone will bend the curve….Once you get coverage off the table, the conversation gets more focused on cost control…People say you can’t do coverage without cost control. I think it’s the opposite. You can’t do cost control before coverage. We would do a huge amount for the cause of cost control just by covering people.”
“Do you know Pascal’s wager? Why not believe in God? I think of health reform similarly. We don’t know if we’ll really bend the cost curve. But if we do this and we don’t do anything, we still go bankrupt in 100 years. We don’t lose much. But if we do it and it works, then it’s a savior.”
Of course, the cynics will ask “What if this health ‘reform’ makes things worse?” To which I respond, be thankful for all things. If we drive the system to collapse more quickly, we will be that much closer to implementing something better than we are if we do nothing.