Health insurance and sports

On Marginal Revolution, it is asked which system should be redesigned from scratch?

My first answer: health insurance.

Many problems in health care (like cost inflation) and employment stems from one simple design flaw: the tax benefit companies receive for buying health insurance that individuals do not receive when they purchase it on their own.

This has caused an unproductive melding of health insurance and employment that aliens would find strange, but we accept as normal.

We don’t expect companies to provide home and auto insurance and those markets are not nearly as mucked up.

My second answer is soccer in the U.S.

Somehow, unlike most of the rest of the world, we wedded sports and schools together from about high school on, including soccer.

I don’t have much problem with it for American sports that are not played widely around the world.

But, it has been detrimental to soccer development. If anyone wonders why the U.S. isn’t in the World Cup and, when we do qualify, we don’t make it far, I believe part answer is school sports.

Our youth soccer culture has emerged to prep players for college soccer rather than World Cup competition, which is a different game (the checkers/chess analogy applies), in several dimensions.

It also changes how the market for players and development of players works at crucial ages.

The U.S. is the Galapagos Islands of soccer.

To the inattentive, it looks like to the sport played elsewhere.

But, being cut off from the rest of the world in various ways has caused it to evolve along a slightly different path, which happens to not be optimized for producing the chess players that operate on the world stage.

Iceland is a good example of a country that went another way. Literally an island, it opened itself up to the soccer cultures of soccer-playing countries and from its tiny population has produced a World Cup team that played to a draw against Argentina last week, which is like Emporia State beating KU in basketball.

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US Soccer – What should be done?

With the U.S.’s exit from World Cup Qualifying, there is much discussion on what’s wrong.

How can a nation of 350 million people get beat by a country that has about half as many people than the Kansas City metro area?!?

Iceland, a country of 350,000, qualified! Yes, Iceland has almost as many people as Omaha, Nebraska and they qualified for the World Cup!!!

There are calls for a new manager. That is likely needed, but that won’t solve the problem.

The problem is that we have a top-down system trying to solve a bottom-up problem.

I will add to this post over the coming days with thoughts on this, but I have already posted many of my thoughts in previous posts.

I think a big missing piece of the puzzle is that pickup play in the U.S. is non-existent.