March 28, 2010 1 Comment
If a person uses the term “risk pooling” in discussions of health care regulation there is a 90% he doesn’t know anything about risk, and in general just doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. There is a 9% chance he’s just a liar. The chances of a person using the term properly in such discussions is very small (the remaining ~1%).
For example, it’s very likely he is using the term “risk pooling” to denote “cost-spreading from high-cost people to low-cost people”, in other words, garnishing the wealth of low-cost people so that the high-cost people don’t have to pay as much for the thing they’re consuming. It’s like you’re at a restaurant with four friends, the check comes and it’s $500 per person, that’s too much for you, so you start campaigning for the sheriff to pull in random people off the street and insist they all chip in for your check too till you get your own cost down to a palatable level for you. Because (you insist) that would be “risk pooling” and (somehow) good for everybody.
This, I hasten to add, is not what “risk pooling” is supposed to mean. People who think this is what “risk pooling” is are either morons pretending to know concepts well above their actual knowledge level or (if not morons) liars. In reality, it’s just socialism: collective ownership/disposition of wealth. But “risk pooling” makes it sound more actuarial and scientific which is why such people use the phrase.