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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Health Care Exchanges Need Healthy People, It Doesn't Matter If They Are Young

The Health Care Exchanges Need Healthy People, It Doesn't Matter If They Are Young

Friday, 18 April 2014 05:48

The NYT again obsessed about the number of young people signing up for the exchanges, telling readers they "tend to be healthier." Yes, everyone knows they tend to be healthier, which is why they pay on average a third of the premium of the oldest age band (55-64). As the Kaiser Foundation showed, a skewing by age would have little consequence since the difference in premiums largely reflects the difference in average costs. What will matter for the success of the exchanges is if there is a skewing by health conditions with less healthy people of all ages being disproportionately likely to enroll.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Larry Signor, April 20, 2014 8:10
No matter how many times this simple concept is pointed out, MSM reverts to the "young, healthy" people meme. There are plenty of reasons to think this is overplayed. Risky behaviors that lead to medical interventions are endemic to the "young,healthy people", as well as to us old farts. In the end, health care disparities are a zero sum game, if everyone is to be covered. Single payer, anyone?

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.