When a Co-Pay Gets in the Way of Health

Economists specialize in pointing out unpleasant trade-offs - a skill that is on full display in the health care debate.

Economists specialize in pointing out unpleasant trade-offs — a skill that is on full display in the health care debate.

We want patients to receive the best care available. We also want consumers to pay less. And we don’t want to bankrupt the government or private insurers. Something must give.

The debate centers on how to make these trade-offs, and who gets to make them. The stakes are high, and the choices are at times unseemly. No matter how necessary, putting human suffering into dollars and cents is not attractive work. It’s no surprise, then, that the conversation is so heated.

What is a surprise is that amid these complex issues, one policy sidesteps these trade-offs. A few drugs — such as beta-blockers, statins and glycogen control medications — have proved very effective at managing hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Most insurance plans charge something for them. Why not make drugs like these free? Not for everyone, but just the groups for whom they are provably effective.

Read the full story here: http://nyti.ms/1eC8nGm

Source: NY Times