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Testimony to Ways and Means Committee Re: Health Reform in the 21st Century: Insurance Market Reforms

For decades, individual insurance has been what economists call a ‘residual’ market—something to buy only when you have run out of other options. The problem is that the high cost of treatment in the U.S., which has the world’s most expensive health-care system, puts truly affordable, comprehensive coverage out of the reach of people who don’t have either deep pockets or a generous employer. Insurers tend to provide this choice: comprehensive coverage with a high monthly premium or skimpy coverage at a low monthly premium within the reach of middle- and low-income consumers. Particularly in this recession, more and more consumers are forced to choose the skimpy coverage/low premium policies.