Robert Tracinkski has written a nice one-page summary of the 2000-page health care bill that the Senate is “debating.” First, he says, ignore the abortion-funding issue because the left will accept restrictions on that to get moderate democrat votes for passage. And debating the “public option” is only a distraction, because they don’t have the votes to pass it.
The three real issues, he contends, are as follows:
1. guaranteed issue and community rating By requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, and regulating the rates they can charge for them, it will drive up the cost for everybody else.
But why spend years paying these inflated premiums for insurance you’re not using, when you can get exactly the same benefits by waiting until you actually fall ill? The obvious result is that million of people, especially healthy young people, will quickly realize that there is no reason to buy health insurance until they get sick.
Obviously, this will drive private insurers out of business and leave us to go crawling back to the government for health care – and you’re a dreamer if you think the democrats don’t know this.
2. individual mandate So that people can’t do this, everyone will be required to purchase insurance or pay an unconstitutional tax just to exist. Because this isn’t very popular, they’ve set it at $750 a year. But if insurance cost $3000 a year, and you have no incentive to buy it until you’re sick, which will you choose to pay?
3. Health “Choices” Czar
But the biggest power-grab in the bill is the government takeover of the entire market for health insurance. The bill requires all new policies to be sold on a government-controlled exchange run by a commissioner who is empowered to dictate what kinds of insurance policies can be offered, what they must cover, and what they can charge.
Right now, your best option for reducing the cost of your health insurance is to buy a policy with a high deductible, which leaves you to pay for routine checkups and minor injuries (preferably from savings held in a tax-free Health Savings Account) but which covers your needs in catastrophic circumstances-a bad car accident, say, or expensive treatment for cancer. This is the kind of coverage I have.
But the health-insurance exchange is intended to eliminate precisely this kind of low-cost catastrophic coverage. Its purpose is to force health-insurance companies to offer comprehensive coverage that pays for all of your routine bills-which in turn comes at a higher price. So under the guise of making health insurance more affordable, this bill will restrict your menu of choices to include only the most expensive options.
So there we have the real essence of this bill. It restricts our choice of which insurance to buy and pushes us into more expensive plans. At the same time, it destroys the economic incentive to purchase insurance in the first place and replaces insurance with a free-floating tax on one’s very existence.