Monday, January 21, 2008

Schwartz on Mandates

The January 17, 2008 Rocky Mountain News has published the following LTE by Brian Schwartz explaining why mandatory insurance is wrong:

Politically controlled insurance is a disease
Brian Schwartz, Boulder
Thursday, January 17, 2008

Health care reform commission Chair Bill Lindsey's recent comments show that he either misunderstands why insurance is so expensive or deliberately misrepresents fundamental issues ("Mandatory health plan participation opposed," Jan. 10).

He wants to force Coloradans to buy politically defined insurance because "the market for health insurance isn't working." But as my free-market proposal to the commission explains, it's not working because government controls have crippled it.

Federal tax policy deeply discounts employer-provided insurance. This locks us to our employer and the costly insurance plans they offer. Hence, insurance companies need not please us, as they know we must change jobs to buy a competitor's product.

Likewise, mandated benefits laws force us to buy expensive policies with benefits we may not need. For example, a widowed wife must buy a policy that covers marital therapy, prostate cancer and maternity. In Colorado, these and other controls add between 20 percent to 50 percent or more to premium costs.

Politically controlled medical insurance is a disease masquerading as its own cure.