The American health care system may have a myriad of problems, but health care expert Aaron Carroll said we sometimes make the issue more complicated than is needed.
Carroll, who is the director of the Center for Health Policy, Indiana University School of Medicine, served as the opening keynote yesterday at the BenefitsPRO Broker Expo in Indianapolis.
“Think about health care as the iron triangle,” said Carroll.
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That iron triangle draws its strength (and weaknesses) in the answers to three questions: how much coverage costs; how good is the coverage; and, how well do people get access.
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“If anyone promises they can improve all three, they are either lying or a politician or both,” said Carroll.
The Three-Legged Stool of Health Care
The U.S. did not invent universal health care out of thin air, Carroll said. “The vast majority of developed countries offer universal coverage. The U.S. remained alone in not offering it along with Chile, Turkey and Mexico.”
The Affordable Care Act made its promise on the idea of a three-legged stool, stated Carroll.
Everyone should be able to get insurance even if they have a pre-existing condition.
To prevent people from gaming the system. They need to buy insurance even if they are healthy.
To make sure everyone can afford the insurance, many people will be given tax credits to help offset the costs.
“For it to work,” said Carroll. “We need all three legs of the stool. This is how all of the countries with universal health care make it work. They all start with a similar model in mind.”
In making his case about America’s woes, Carroll submitted a series of slides comparing the U.S. health care system to other countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD. After looking at the results, let’s just say, thank you, Canada.
Access to Health Care
At least in one measure, the ACA has worked. “We have reduced the number of uninsured to an all-time low,” Carroll said.
But that’s only one way to measure the success of the ACA. A 2016 Commonwealth Study looked at a myriad of health topics that often placed the U.S. in an unfavorable light.