Health Insurance versus Auto Insurance
In Citizen Tom’s blog, “scout” (a statist posing as an “old line conservative”) suggests that making health care a national requirement is just like auto insurance. I responded:
The US Constitution gives the United States government no authority at all to require Americans to purchase automobile insurance.
And therefore, IT DOES NOT REQUIRE THIS. This decision is up to individuals states, and by amusing irony you are writing to a person who lives in one of the US states (Virginia) that does NOT require auto insurance.
Individual states may decide this. The national government has no authority to force you to buy a product such as auto insurance. And as you said, “Health insurance is no different.”
Auto risk requirements, by the way, only apply to people who have voluntarily decided to purchase a car, in states where this is a requirement. Health risk applies to every living person, even the unborn.
In this country, people who are not insured get emergency care if needed. It is covered mostly by the states through collected taxes, but simply shifting the taxpayer burden from paying for their care directly to paying for their insurance which funds their care doesn’t reduce the taxpayer burden. If it did, no insurance company could afford to interpose itself in that position.
But the new plan provides subsidized health care to millions more than before. It (in theory, though the plan designs are bad) protects individuals from catastrophic losses based upon their own decisions not to buy insurance — but this was never the government’s responsibility to do.
There was a small issue of pre-existing conditions for a small subset of people not covered through group plans, which have covered pre-existing conditions for many years. Those not currently covered could have had state-assisted groups formed for the purpose, a decision up to the citizens of each state. But even a national solution to this would have been a simple fix.
Instead, we’ve built a $20 solution to a ten-cent problem, and created a Constitutional crisis and invested the US government in the control of a multi-trillion-dollar revenue stream that they will not voluntarily give up.
Where the free market is allowed to operate in medical care (such as in LASIK surgery), costs have come down tremendously and quality has improved, driven by technology and the fact that people can make choices. Where governments take control and remove people from the payment decisions, as happened years ago with health insurance commissions and agencies, choices are reduced, and prices have gone up.
When the government injects itself, it is blatantly wasteful and inefficient. Not only does it not care about “profit” or “savings,” bureaucracies in our system are rewarded for overspending by being given increased budgets.
Every possible bad aspect of government-run systems, from waste to lack of expertise to solving the wrong problems to petty bureaucracies to arbitrary rule-making, has been combined in Obamacare. Sadly, this was intentional, but intentional or not it remains a horrific idea.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle