Christy Ford Chapin on the History of Health Insurance in America

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Why did I do this show? I recorded this when I was working at a health insurance software startup and looking for a way to deeply study health insurance in the US. Boy did Christy deliver!

What did I learn? The most important insight in the book is nobody wanted the system we eventually got, except maybe the doctors. Insurers hate the idea of universal, compulsory insurance because it forces them to underwrite very difficult risks, that otherwise would never be able or want to buy insurance. Doctors knew that in other systems their ability to control patient care would be curtailed by a universal health care provider. Insurers offered the possibility of a fractured payor system that would not be able to dictate procedures.

What was my favorite part? My favorite part was actually getting to experience first hand Christy’s rapturous recital of all kinds of minutiae she uncovered as part of her research. It really takes a certain kind of talent to slot through all the materials she did to do her work. I was in awe of it.

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