Critical Condition

Graphic and Novel

The Washington Post has a helpful chart buried on the back page of its health supplement today that lays out the possible winners and losers in health reform. The chart, which is couched in very speculative language about “could” this and “might” that and even one “a big ‘if’” thrown in, focuses on population segments, namely the uninsured, Medicare and Medicaid recipients, those with individual coverage, and those with employer coverage. This approach differs from the usual analyses that couch winners and losers in terms of industry groups, such as insurers, doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals. Buried among all the “mights” and “coulds” is a common theme, that individuals in each of the groups looked at could have to pay at the end of the day. Depending on which group you belong to, you could face some combination of: “pay[ing] a penalty” for not buying insurance, “relatively higher premiums,” “higher outpatient deductibles,” “lower quality of care or disrupt[ed] access to services,” and “some or all of your health benefits, which are now exempt from taxation, could be taxed.” Caveat emptor.

And to all the snickerers out there: Yes, I do read the health section, not because of its articles about how to work out with your dog or its reviews of the relative merits of substances like probiotics or vitamin D, but because it occasionally has useful gems like this one.

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide. His latest book is Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.