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Saturday, April 15th 2006

The Mass. Experiment

The New York Times on Massachusetts plan to provide healthcare for all.

The move is already raising hackles among libertarians, who consider it an unwarranted government intrusion into decisions that should be personal. But the truth is, very few of the uninsured go entirely without medical care. When they get sick, they typically show up at emergency rooms, where they get very expensive care without paying.

By forcing all residents to assume responsibility for their own health coverage, Massachusetts should largely solve this “free rider” problem and tilt treatments back toward routine and preventive care and away from emergency care.

I agree with this assessment; compromise has to be made on both sides and I hope that this experiment yields some useful results. Still, as I’ve commented on before, the editorial’s “46 million” uninsured figure is probably overstating it, as several government studies have suggested.