Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crunch Time for Health Care: Now It’s Up to Us

One of the most often repeated assertions from TeamObama about their proposed “reform” of health care has been that individuals would be able to keep their current health insurance if they so desired. But this, to employ Joe Wilson’s colorful characterization, is a lie. As Hinderaker shows, the Baucus plan before the Senate, combining a “weak mandate” to buy insurance with “a strong requirement on the insurance industry that it insure everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions or state of health,” would “devastate” the private insurance industry.

What is meant by a “weak mandate” is that, in the current version of the Baucus bill, there is no requirement to buy health insurance at all until after 2013, and by 2017 the penalty for failing to buy health insurance still amounts to only about 15% of the cost of the insurance. Now, think about it: if you know that you don’t have to buy health insurance when you are young and healthy, but if you should get sick, or just get older, you can apply for health insurance at any time and it will be illegal for the insurance company to turn you down, what would you do? Obviously, you would defer buying insurance unless and until you get sick. This means that the pool of those who are insured will be lower quality, and the cost therefore higher for everyone who buys insurance. It is as though you could wait until you die, and then your heirs can buy life insurance on you.

As Hinderaker observes, “This isn’t reform, it is stupidity.”

Crunch Time for Health Care: Now It’s Up to Us

No comments:

Post a Comment