Innovation and Health Care

David Leonhardt has an interesting column in the New York Times — If Health Care Reform Fails, America’s Innovation Gap Will Grow — where he makes that case that our current system is bad for the future of the I-Cubed Economy:

Economic research suggests that more than 1.5 million workers who would otherwise have switched jobs fail to do so every year because of fears about health insurance. Some of them would have moved to companies where they could have contributed more, and others would have started their own businesses.

As he points out, as part of an innovation policy, “you would want to make people feel confident that they could take risks — start a new company or join a young one — without worrying about whether they would still receive adequate medical care.”

Our existing health care system is already a drag on our economic competitiveness by imposing costs on US businesses that their competitors don’t have to face. Leonhardt’s point about the negative impact of the health care system’s “job lock-in” affect is even more telling.

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