Risky Business

The McCain plan for health care involves working with governors to develop state-by-state high-risk pools to cope with the fact that McCain’s main federal proposal would make it impossible for sick people to get health insurance. So how’s Alaska look? Here’s your answer courtesy of Peter at the Wonk Room:

Based on the high risk pool in her state, Palin’s advice would clearly be to create a high risk pool that: offers very expensive coverage, puts as much burden on individuals as possible, excludes preexisting conditions, and limits benefits as much as possible.

Alaska’s pool is one of the smallest in the country, with 510 enrollees (end of 2006). And, Alaska is one of the most expensive programs in the country — the total cost per enrollee of the program is $18,569 (when you include the enrollee premium spending and subsidies). In the US, the average family premium for an employer sponsored health plan is roughly $13,000 — yes, that is for a whole family, not for an individual in Alaska.

This, like the rest of McCain’s plan, is part of the larger conservative philosophy that the main problem with the American health care system is that it’s too focused on delivering care to people, rather than on cutting back service levels.