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Health Care Reform Should Not Come in the Form of Mandates

posted Nov 19, 2009, 4:03 PM by Deidre East   [ updated Mar 15, 2010, 10:53 AM by Advocates for Liberty Liberty ]
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans (Democrat-lite) have the reform strategy correct. 

If there is any hope of real reform and real change, the government needs to get out of the Nanny/Big Brother business. 

The way to truly reform health care is to get rid of the third party payers, be they government or insurance companies. As consumers become responsible for their medical purchases and health choices and the providers become aware of the consumers willingness and ability to pay, prices will come down and quality will improve. Lasik surgery has become more prolific and more affordable as quality has continuously risen. While HSA contributions (limited to a paltry $3000 per year) can be used for these elective procedures, rarely do insurers cover it should be.

State mandates of coverage and deductible limits stifle consumer choice. For the person who isn't into therapist-chic or can responsibly enjoy adult beverages in moderation, he or she may not want to pay for mental health and substance abuse coverage. And those people shouldn't have to pay for something they will never use. State mandates are the result of lobbyists and politicians getting together to favor a segment of the medical field, all at the eventual cost of the end-consumer.

WWII-era wage controls have created the monstrosity of employer-provided health insurance. The unequal tax treatment of employer-provided and employee-provided insurance has favored this flawed system. The issue of pre-existing conditions is also exacerbated by the link between coverage and employer. If the tax code treated employees and employers the same with respect to purchasing insurance, employees could choose plans that fit their individual needs. Employers could either fund expanded HSA accounts, from which premiums and health care services could be paid, or could pay their employees higher salaries. Either way, the individual decides what kind of coverage and what kind of deductible he or she is willing to pay, and the policy would belong to the individual, making it portable. Bare-bones, catastrophic plans would appeal to young, healthy people due to their low premiums. During these healthy years, HSAs could grow in preparation of one's golden years, where more health care services are needed. When people are responsible for their health and pay for their coverage, they tend to be more careful; they determine the rationing rationale. And when they make poor choices (which free people do), they understand and suffer the consequences. 

The removal of pre-existing conditions should be a temporary transition only: from employer-owned policies to individual-owned policies. When we have been shackled to our employers as the result of government mandates, we should not be punished...nor should the insurance providers by making such a mandate long-term. 

The fact that we are prevented from purchasing insurance from other states seems to be a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause. Real reform from D.C. would come in the form of breaking down these state barriers that imprison and strangle the currently-not-so-free market. 

The further the decision-making is from the source of the problem, the less effective the attempted solution. Expecting bureaucrats in D.C. to understand my specific family structure and health lifestyle is ridiculous. Central planning doesn't work. 

We are NOT in favor of BAD reform.  We believe that the latest bill passed by the House is BAD reform, BAD medicine. 

Congress should expect a flood of civil disobedience if the House bill is not killed in the Senate.