I actually had this post written in full last night and then totally lost it. A couple of hours work down the drain. Curse you Filezilla auto-updater! Oh well, here goes round two. Maybe I can actually keep it this time.
It’s become something of a conservative cliche’ to blame everything bad in the economy on government intervention. I know things aren’t as simple as that. But, the reason cliche’s become cliche’s is because they’re so often true. It’s no different in the case of health insurance. I talked last time about how government regulations have been the main cause behind high premiums. Now I’m gonna back up that statement. First up, government mandates on benefits. You might not know that in many states, if you are a single man, you’re coverage may well include pregnancy and gyno. visits. Why you ask? Government mandated benefit inclusion. Heritage explains it thus:
A major why reason health insurance premiums keep rising is because special interests keep successfully lobbying state legislatures to mandate more and more procedures into all insurance plans. So even though a 25-year-old male has no need for in vitro fertilization and no interest in acupuncture, a state like New Jersey forces him to buy a plan that covers those procedures. The result? That 25-year-old could buy a basic health plan in Kentucky for $960 a year, but the cheapest plan in New Jersey (full of mandates he doesn’t want or need) costs him $5,880. A study for the Health Insurance Association of America found that 20% to 25% of uninsured Americans lack insurance due to benefits mandates.
But there are also mandates on the physician side. A friend recently told me that all pathology groups are now being forced to provide pap-smears. These are among the hardest tests to accurately prognose. Historically those have been handled by only a few, higher risk pathology groups that are willing to pony up for the high cost of malpractice insurance and pass those costs on to the insurer, leaving other groups to provide lower cost normative testing. This mandate will necessarily result in higher insurance premiums. Even for men. What we have is government regulated one-size fits all healthcare mandates coupled with one-size-fits all plan benefits mandates. It makes no sense. And it’s blowing up premiums.
Contrast that with other types of insurance. When you buy auto insurance you get to choose your deductible, whether you want collision, road-side assistance, etc. In short, you get to tailor the plan to fit your needs in a la carte fashion. Why would you buy collision insurance on a 15 year old clunker? You wouldn’t. But if it was sold the way health insurance is, you would have to. And your wallet would be all the lighter for it. Again, take homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance, life insurance, and on and on. They all allow flexible packaging to reduce cost and make it affordable to you in your individual situation. Why not healthcare?
I’m glad you asked. Nothing pulls at the heart strings more than sob stories about health care and sickness. Some stories, especially involving kids, will just wrench your heart out. That makes it the perfect candidate for political demagoguery. It’s a win/win for politicians all the way around. They get to rail against evil insurers to gain favor with the public. All the while passing laws that make it tougher and tougher for people to afford it. Which then in turn provides more ammo for railing against corporate greed. The final result is pricing everyone out of the market, intentionally, so that the only entity left that can afford it is government. Take a lesson from Ayn Rand:
“One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making [the industry] unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”
And that’s just what has been in the works for years and years. Liberal politicians know that if they get socialized healthcare, that’s the death blow to individual freedom in this country. Once a program of that size and magnitude gets implemented it will never go away. Anyone who tried to re-privatize it would be met with the most vicious of rhetoric about how he wanted to “take away your healthcare.” They want it so bad they can taste it. And, don’t kid yourself. They know that regulations lead to a breakdown of the system. They aren’t stupid:
Obama’s campaign health care plan called for requiring insurance companies to cover everybody who applied for insurance, regardless of risk factors or preexisting conditions. Yet every state that has tried this in the absence of a mandate has seen a mass exodus of insurance companies from the state, because healthy people make the rational decision to exit the insurance market, and insurers are stuck with the oldest and sickest patients.
Obama wants to create a government-run insurance exchange in which individuals are given subsidies to purchase insurance, and given choice among private plans and a government option modeled after Medicare. The idea is to steer people to the government option over time, but in the near term, he needs private insurers to participate in the exchange to give him cover so that he can argue that he isn’t imposing government health care, and that consumers will have a real choice.
I’m gonna do a part three and look at how a socialized health system in this country would look. I may not do it next since it will require some research, but look for it soon.