Expanding Insurance Coverage Is Not the Way to Reduce Health Care Costs

As his Council of Economic Advisers made clear in its recent health care report, President Obama sees two primary goals for his health care reform efforts: to slow the growth of health care costs and to expand coverage of health insurance. It’s pretty clear, though, which of these goals is steering the ship. While the President’s proposals include a few modest measures ostensibly aimed at reducing costs (digitizing medical records, collecting and disseminating data on treatment-effectiveness, etc.), the primary focus is on increasing insurance coverage. That’s unfortunate, for relentless pursuit of coverage expansion is almost certain to undermine the goal of cost containment.

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