What does Cowen want?

In a thought provoking post on health reform, Tyler Cowen wrote,

I am less worried about mandate enforcement than I used to be; Austin Frakt has had good posts on this at TheIncidentalEconomist.

So, I expect that Marginal Revolution readers will come to this blog’s home page looking for those “good posts.” I suspect what Cowen is getting at is whether the individual mandate penalty is of sufficient size.

On that point, I did write a good post. I showed that the size of the ACA’s individual mandate penalty is, on average, smaller than that that imposed on Massachusetts residents who don’t comply with that state’s mandate. And, as we all know, Massachusetts has achieved quite high rates of insurance (~96%).

There is still gaming of the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions in Massachusetts–individuals jumping in and out of coverage. Cowen may have also been thinking about my post that discussed that this is also not a big issue. In fact, gaming of this type isn’t even what the mandate intends to eliminate. The role of the mandate is to protect the insurance market from adverse selection. Turns out there isn’t very much by way of adverse selection consequences due to the gaming of the Massachusetts law. The insurance market remains stable.

But there are so many good posts here on health reform, health care, health policy, and health economics, it is hard to know exactly what Cowen had in mind. Just to be sure you don’t miss something good, maybe you ought to subscribe. 🙂

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