A Win For Insurance?

by Patrick Appel

It's a line you hear from critics of health care reform on both the right and the left. Ezra Klein gives his take:

[If] I could construct a system in which insurers spent 90 percent of every premium dollar on medical care, never discriminated against another sick applicant, began exerting real pressure for providers to bring down costs, vastly simplified their billing systems, made it easier to compare plans and access consumer ratings, and generally worked more like companies in a competitive market rather than companies in a non-functional market, I would take that deal. And if you told me that the price of that deal was that insurers would move from being the 86th most profitable industry to being the 53rd most profitable industry, I would still take that deal. And that may be the exact deal we're getting. The profit motive is not, in and of itself, a bad thing.