North Dakota is taking on an interesting experiment:

This week, the state Insurance Department is starting an experiment: Bring small groups of people together in North Dakota communities, give them a health insurance budget, and ask them if they’d prefer less expensive insurance plans that don’t include all the state-mandated benefits.

It sounds a bit like one of those psychology experiments in which researchers give college freshmen $50 to blow in a simulation. It may be interesting to watch in the lab, but will it translate to the real world?

Perhaps. When a group in Montana tried this, it found something that rings true:

“Low-income people generally preferred low deductibles for their medical coverage while higher-income participants wanted high deductibles and emphasized coverage for catastrophic, expensive medical problem.”

How you think about risk underpins a large part of the health care debate. That’s a challenge for free-market and liberty advocates.

(Cross-posted from State House Call.)


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