Tuesday, February 13, 2007

RMN Discussion of Health Insurance

On February 11th, Brian Schwartz published this op-ed on the perils of government healthcare in the Boulder Daily Camera. (It's analogy to auto repair is clever.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Health Insurance Mandates

Sally Pipes, writing in the Rocky Mountain News points out some reasons why health insurance is so expensive:
Ever wonder why health insurance costs so much in Colorado? Well, maybe it has something to do with the fact that every insurance policy in the state must cover all kinds of services — including professional counseling — deemed unnecessary by many.

In fact, Colorado has 37 of these mandates. Should a resident want to buy a policy that doesn’t cover, say, chiropractor visits, sorry — the government has decided that everyone must have that coverage.

Recently, enthusiasm for universal health-care coverage has swept the nation, with governors in Massachusetts and California leading the way. Maine and Vermont are currently revising their own systems of expanded health-care coverage, and at least eight other states are pursuing similar reforms.

Certainly, the approximately 47 million uninsured in America is a significant problem, but the proposals under consideration do little to address the primary reason for the lack of coverage — very expensive insurance.

And why are those costs spiraling upward, seemingly without limit? One major reason is government meddling in the market for health insurance, particularly through the imposition of restrictive mandates and regulations.

The average state has 36 mandates on an individual health insurance policy. And with each mandate, the cost to the consumer goes up. These mandates often stand in the way of making health insurance more affordable in the first place.

Just as options on a new automobile add to the total cost of the car, so too do insurance mandates.
You can read the rest -- and even post a comment -- here.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Diana Hsieh LTE in Rocky Mountain News

My letter to the editor to the Rocky Mountain News responding to Paul Campos' column on "myths" about American healthcare was published in full on the web on February 5th. (It was not published in the print version.) Here it is:
Paul Campos ("Our Sickly Healthcare," Jan 30) notes the enormous influence of the government on America's ailing market for medical care. Yet he misses the obvious: government meddling is the fundamental source of those ills. His proposal for more government-controlled medicine--for socialized medicine--would be a disaster for medical providers and patients alike.

Already, government bureaucrats set prices by arbitrary fiat via the Medicare system, then overwhelm doctors with paperwork and regulations. Already, consumers are encouraged to pursue medical care without regard for cost, thanks to tax laws encouraging employers to provide medical insurance for even routine expenses. Already, taxpayers are burdened with the cost of ever-growing medical entitlement programs. Already, FDA regulations drive up the cost of life-saving drugs and prevent doctors from prescribing drugs known to be safe. The result of that government meddling is an expensive bureaucratic labyrinth that prevents healthcare providers--doctors, nurses, drug companies, hospitals, clinics--from providing the best medical care for the patient's dollar.

The solution to these problems is not more paternalistic government regulations, bureaucracy, and entitlements. It is to allow--and require--people to take personal responsibility for their own health by separating medicine and state.

Diana Hsieh
The Rocky Mountain News allows comments on letters; you can post them on this page.