Why are health insurance options illegal?
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 1:11 pm
By: Mark Hinkle, Libertarian Party
While President Obama and the Republicans in Congress spend time debating whether religious groups must provide their employees free contraceptives, a far more fundamental issue is being ignored: if we want better health insurance for all, why are we making it illegal?
ObamaCare, known in Massachusetts as RomneyCare, effectively outlaws true health insurance. Insurance, if you think about it, should exist to protect you against catastrophic expenditures. For example, car insurance doesn’t cover the cost of gas and oil, as it would be outrageously expensive due to the incentive for increased driving. Similarly, health insurance should not cover ordinary and predictable costs, yet remains outrageously expensive because it does.
Then why do consumers continue to buy overpriced insurance that covers predictable costs? Government. First, the senseless connection of health insurance to employment is the result of a system that taxes cash wages but not health benefits, punishing employees who would rather have higher cash wages while making their own personal choice of health coverage. Second, special interests in every state have lobbied legislators to mandate coverage for their particular product or service. Finally, regulation not only drives up the cost of healthcare, but also restricts entry into the field, leading to even higher prices.”
The result is this: if you want inexpensive health insurance, but don’t want coverage for alcoholism, weight loss programs and baldness treatments, and would prefer a deductible based on your personal finances: TOUGH. Even if you’re not stuck with your employer’s choices, the type of individually tailored coverage you want is illegal.
Instead of ObamaRomneyCare, we need to decriminalize good health insurance. Eliminate the coverage mandates, the laws against purchasing health insurance across state lines, and the unfavorable tax treatment of personal insurance policies. Remove the regulations that block entry of new insurers, including charitable organizations which could provide catastrophic protection for the poor and the club-based insurance policies that were once popular before the insurance industry and American Medical Association both pushed to make them illegal.
As for contraception? Women shouldn’t need a permission slip from their doctor to have safe sex. Removing the prescription requirement would massively reduce the cost of contraceptives, making it far more affordable. In turn, this would ease the burden on groups such as Planned Parenthood that have long provided free contraceptives to those in need.