Universal health insurance

There was an interesting Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, A Brave New Insurance back in December by William Brody, the president of The Johns Hopkins University, in support of universal health coverage. A snippet of his reasoning:

In the years ahead, genetic testing will become gradually more pervasive, and at the same time, our knowledge of the risk of disease associated with the results of those tests will become increasingly refined. The result could be the end of private health insurance as we now know it.

If legislatures pass laws banning insurers from using genetic screening data, those companies will protect themselves by continually raising premiums to consumers. Some may even go bankrupt because purchasers of insurance will be the more knowledgeable in the transaction.

Yet if we allow insurers to use genetic data, many more individuals will be left without coverage because they will be deemed too high-risk to warrant insurance at affordable prices. Given this conundrum, there is only one solution that can preserve the concept of health insurance: universal coverage.

Whatever it takes to get universal coverage, I'm all for it. My quest for basic health insurance in the NYC area has turned up several options, the cheapest of which is nearly $300 a month (that's just individual coverage)! It's no wonder so many people go without. [via Scott Rosenberg]