Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Justice of Simplification

I was listening to "Start the Week" the morning, in which Masha Gessen talked about genetic destiny and related ethical issues. One of the issues raised was the ethics of genetic testing for medical insurance. David Blunkett pointed out that there was a moratorium on insurance companies having access to genetic testing information. It occurred to me that there could be an argument in regulating against insurance companies using any actuarial information in setting premiums; although this my seem an extreme position, it has several advantages;
  1. it is more equitable; ill people, or people judged more likely to be ill, don't have to pay more
  2. it is simpler (and therefore presumably cheaper) because the insurance companies don't have to calculate(specific) actuarial risk, conduct health checks, etc.
  3. it is inclusive; it removes potential barriers to entry to health or life insurance. In particular, there is no disincentive for people to get tested or treated for conditions that they are worried will affect their insurability
In some respect it is similar to the arguments for flat tax - in the sense that simpler = more just

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