The new 401(k)s

I was pleasantly surprised, this week, by my periodic email from HSA Weekly. Usually, the publishers of this news compendium of Health Savings Account news send out articles intended to promote Health Savings Accounts and their crummy high-deductible health plans.

But this week, I got an article about how HSAs aren’t doing all that well because consumers have been rightly wary of them.

The article sums it up well, but essentially, health care is a very complex system to navigate. The idea that “consumer choice” and “cost-conscious” behavior is going to drive down costs is ludicrous when you consider that:

a) the most expensive care (ie. emergency care) is not voluntary, nor do you have time to make “cost conscious” decisions about which hospital you should go to when you’re having a heart attack.
b) it’s impossible to find price stickers on the care that we need
c) consumers aren’t medical experts and don’t know what care is most effective and less effective
d) “choice,” as proponents of high-deductible plans like to promote, is not neccesarily a good thing. Think of how overwhelming it is to choose a flavor at Baskin Robbins.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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