Arnold Kling

Genetic Information and Health Care

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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Douglas I. Kalish argues that better genetic information can improve health care, but the outcome for health insurance may be darker.

On the positive side, knowing the genetic profile of a patient should allow doctors to select the most clinically effective and the most cost effective course of treatment...

On the negative side, genetic information about an individual will enable insurers to identify those who are likely to develop a disease... In the absence of legislation or social pressure to solidify community and average premium rating, the availability of personal genetic information will increase the spread of health insurance premiums that are much closer to an individual's real cost.

Discussion Question. Could a fair insurance market emerge for the risk of discovering that one has genes that imply a need for medical care?

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