Polling results from the Commonwealth Fund claim that seniors like Medicare better than nonseniors like their private insurance. (I'm sure it was accompanied by the standard-but-hard-to-believe disclaimer denying any desire to influence legislation, including the is-a-public-plan-a-good-idea debate in Congress.)
Uwe Reinhardt sent me the results along with his condolences; and I haven't really looked at them closely. But do I really need to? Why can't I dismiss this nonsense based on economic theory alone?
Remainder below the fold.
One of the building blocks of economics is the proposition that people reveal their preferences through their actions and such revelations are far more reliable than polls. For example, our employees here at the NCPA do not spend $3,000 a year on supplemental insurance to fill the gaping holes in their basic plan. Nor do they pay an additional $350 a year to a third plan to obtain drug coverage absent in the other two.
So without ever getting into the remaining out-of-pocket exposure, the doughnut hole, the refusal of doctors to take new patients, the threat of criminal prosecution if they pay doctors more (horrors!) than the rates the plan allows, etc., etc., etc., may I not conclude on the basis of out-of-pocket spending alone that our employees prefer our plan by at least $3,350 more than seniors prefer Medicare?