A Cure for the Wrong Disease

It's the ultimate medical nightmare. You slip under the anesthesia confident that your problem will be solved with some simple procedure -- a polyp excision, for example, or tubal ligation. But when you wake up you find your breasts are missing or your intestine now terminates in a plastic bag. Too bad we had the wrong patient, the surgeons shrug, because the operation went beautifully.

Something similar could be happening in the area of health-care reform. Dreaming of universal, comprehensive health insurance, Americans are about to wake up to a byzantine new arrangement called "managed competition." More than 60% of the...

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