The “Unreasonable” Cost of Medical Insurance

December 23, 2008

by Mario Rizzo

People quite rightly complain about the cost of health insurance and bemoan the fact that, for some, insurance is out of financial reach. The following article from the New York Times  points to a factor that no doubt is illustrative of one source of the problem. This factor is just one of the mandates the Congress or individual states have created.  

Every year, state and federal governments spend more than $15 billion, and insurers at least $5 billion more, on substance-abuse treatment services for some four million people. That amount may soon increase sharply: last year, Congress passed the mental health parity law, which for the first time includes addiction treatment under a federal law requiring that insurers cover mental and physical ailments at equal levels.   

Many clinics across the county have waiting lists, and researchers estimate that some 20 million Americans who could benefit from treatment do not get it.

Yet very few rehabilitation programs have the evidence to show that they are effective. The resort-and-spa private clinics generally do not allow outside researchers to verify their published success rates. The publicly supported programs spend their scarce resources on patient care, not costly studies (Emphasis added).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Responses to “The “Unreasonable” Cost of Medical Insurance”


  1. This stems, of course, from the government’s insistence that people don’t know how to choose the best health care plans for themselves. In a free market, people overcoming drug addiction would obviously make sure they had a health insurance plan that covers it, or find a different plan.

    In our current system, we take away mobility and legislate coverage. No wonder why costs are so high…

  2. koppl Says:

    What about the problem of pre-existing conditions, Zachary?

  3. Mario Rizzo Says:

    My main point was that the Congress mandated coverage of a treatment for which the evidence of efficacy is not there. The pre-existing conditions issue is a different matter. This might not be a situation that the ordinary insurance market can handle.


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