The Popularity of Government-Run Health Insurance

The flipside of Americans’ loss-aversion about their current health coverage, discussed below, is that those people who have the opportunity to benefit from government-run health insurance tend to be much more loss-averse than those experiencing private sector insurance. The United States actually contains an interesting experiment in this issue because Americans over the age of 65 suddenly transition into the Canadian-style program known as Medicare (conveniently, Canada’s national health insurance program is also called “Medicare”). About a month ago Mark Blumenthal pointed out that customer satisfaction is much higher inside Medicare:

More importantly, the higher scores for Medicare are based on perceptions of better access to care. More than two thirds (70 percent) of traditional Medicare enrollees say they “always” get access to needed care (appointments with specialists or other necessary tests and treatment), compared with 63 percent in Medicare managed care plans and only 51 percent of those with private insurance.

As Ezra Klein noted yesterday you see the same thing internationally:

As you can see here, there are a variety of appealing models. People like Canada’s Medicare for All approach, just as people here like Medicare. What the Dutch do is quite different, is somewhat more appealing to the wonk’s sensibility, and is also quite popular. The UK approach which is, again, totally different and really does feature the dread “rationing” is also really popular. Nothing can quite beat the American system for producing widespread dissatisfaction.