Speed Reads


Germany demonstrates the ObamaCare endgame

ObamaCare is based on three interlocking ideas: guaranteed issue, meaning no one can be denied insurance coverage; an individual mandate to get that coverage, so healthy people stay in the risk pool; and subsidies to provide for those who can't afford to pay. There's a lot more to it than that, but those are the bedrock principles.

Aaron Carroll has done another video in his series on how foreign countries do their healthcare, and this time Germany is up. Germany's system works more or less how ObamaCare will work if it can ever be implemented thoroughly throughout the country. It's a largely private system, individuals are required to buy coverage, and the government steps in if people can't pay. Here are three takeaways:

-- It's complicated. Making all those parts mesh together takes a lot of work, a lot of complicated rules, and some pretty rigorous oversight from the German government.

-- It's fairly expensive. Not nearly as expensive as the U.S. system, mind, but still pricey by OECD standards.

-- But it basically works. All that regulation will be tough to get right. But in the end, the basic reality of the American health care system is that it's incredibly expensive, patchy, and not very good. Germany gives some confidence that our current policy trajectory is workable. --Ryan Cooper