There has been a lot written about health insurance. Here, and elsewhere. It would seem that the topic of discussion was exhausted, but I do have one simple point that I feel is not mentioned enough. Health insurance is not insurance.

The basic idea of insurance is that it is a risk pool. Many people pay a little money for a single, expensive event that is not expected to happen to any of them. People buy home insurance, but a house fire is not an expected event. People buy auto insurance, not expecting their car to be totaled. And some medical insurance, such as catastrophic plans, does cover very rare events. In that sense, it is insurance, because it is meant to cover rare but expensive events. But much of what health insurance covers are expected costs: if you make two doctor's visits a year, that is not within the meaning of "insurance". It would be comparable to purchasing auto insurance and expecting it to pay for oil changes and car washes. Or expecting home owner's insurance to include cleaning gutters and carpet cleaning. The term "health insurance", then, is a misnomer.

This might seem like a technical point, but there are two different debates in health care: the economics and morality of distributing rare and expensive costs (which fits the definition of "insurance"), and the economics and morality of distributing common, and slightly less expensive costs (which is not truly "insurance"). Calling both of these topics "insurance" confuses the issue.