You remember those Unintended Consequences that our politicians continue to refuse to believe in? Here’s one:
I’m a registered Democrat living in New York City, and I buy my own health insurance. But now, having seen the health-care reform bill that passed the House, I’m preparing for life without health insurance. And unless I’m the only person covered under the Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield “Tradition Plus” plan, a lot of other people will end up just like me, uninsured.
I will gain one thing, though—an annual fine for losing my insurance. The exact amount of that fine isn’t clear yet, but so far it looks like I’ll be paying about the same amount—$2,000 a year—for having no insurance as I do now for having it.
Here’s the story. The writer has a hospital-only policy. It’s the sort of thing the government should be encouraging, not outlawing. Because he is responsible for most of his medical expenses, he has incentives to not waste money on unnecessary tests or quackery. However, he’s still covered in case of disaster. This is the sort of “consumer driven” insurance that has proven stunningly successful in bringing down health care costs and is the focus of David Goldhill’soutstanding article at the Atlantic (which is, by far, the best thing written on healthcare in years).
But consumer empowerment is not the reason Heinze has a hospital-only policy. The reason he has it is that New York has been a laboratory for all the bad ideas currently showing up in Pelosicare.
Why do I choose the Empire “Tradition Plus” plan instead of a comprehensive HMO-type plan that covers physician fees, prescriptions, etc.? Because, unlike other states, New York already mandates two things that the current federal health-care reform will mandate. The first mandate prohibits insurers from denying coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. The second mandate prohibits insurers from denying coverage, or determining prices, based on age. The result is that HMO plans in the state are now very expensive. The price of Empire’s basic, least expensive HMO plan is more than $13,000 a year for an individual, more than $26,000 a year for a married couple, and more than $39,000 a year for a family with children.
Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, however, know what’s good for us—certainly much better than some stupid taxpayer. Why if Heinze was in charge of the country, he probably wouldn’t even screw up the protocol when meeting the Emperor of Japan. And here he is, thinking that a cheap insurance policy is adequate. Sheesh.
It’s been said that our federalist system creates 50 laboratories in which to test out different policies before national policy is written. That’s a great idea but it only works if you decide to avoid those experiment that set the laboratory on fire. Romneycare is a catastrophe. New York is a catastrophe. Oregon has people dying because the State-Run Health Care system won't allow them to have the care they would have in most other states. Every state that has issued coverage mandates has found that it only makes insurance more expensive and drives medical costs up. But here we have the Democratic party watching their liberal laboratories go up in flames and insisting that we just need a bigger lab. And maybe some more kerosene.
Can there really be much doubt that their intention is to make the insurance market so bad that the American people demand socialized medicine? I mean, we’re practically getting that anyway, with all the anti-choice garbage included in the current healthcare bill iteration.
The really stupid parties in all this are the dim-bulb insurance companies. They love this bill because, as Heinze notes, it will force everyone to not only buy insurance, but buy expensive insurance. However, like the Democrats they so love, the insurance companies don’t understand that the money for these policies is not going to appear out of the ether. Millions of Americans are going to forgo buying insurance until they are sick, preferring the small fines to the big premiums. That will not only bankrupt the insurers, it will lead inevitable to their abolition.
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