Monday, April 14, 2008

Colorado Springs Gazette Opposes Mandatory Insurance

The April 13, 2008 Colorado Springs Gazette has published a good editorial taking a strong stand against mandatory health insurance. It is the second editorial on the page. (BTW, I also agree with their first editorial supporting gun rights on college campuses):

It's the grand prize of politics. Fix health care and be a rock star. Unfortunately, some things can't be fixed at the Capitol. But that's a memo state politicians refuse to read.

Both parties in the Colorado General Assembly are gleefully pushing a Senate bill they've called a bipartisan blueprint for universal health insurance, setting a goal of health care for all by 2010. Shockingly, Republicans seem as overjoyed as Democrats regarding the most overreaching and frightening bill to pass through Denver in years.

The bill, a brainchild of Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, is patterned after the Massachusetts health care program, signed into law by former Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican.

Most notably, the Hagedorn plan would make it a crime for anyone in Colorado to choose against purchasing health insurance. Those who don't buy insurance would be penalized on their taxes, and subjected to other nasty sanctions of the state. It's a bit like addressing the homeless problem with a mandate that every human buy a house, or else suffer financial punishment. Imagine if there were only so many houses to go around, and every living being was required to buy one. It's a supply and demand nightmare scenario, and the health care proposal isn't much different.

In an effort to make the bill sound something less than insane, legislators will direct the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, along with the Division of Insurance, to develop a new bare-bones health insurance package that offers something less than comprehensive coverage. That's to make us believe the program won't over-burden the health care system.

Mandatory health insurance will be a disaster, just like the program in Massachusetts. The system of Romney & Co. has resulted in higher health care costs, lower quality health care, major rationing, and a looming exodus of doctors from Massachusetts. Patients sometimes wait months to see a doctor, because everyone's entitled to consume health care now. Some residents can't find doctors accepting new patients at all, even though they're forced to pay for insurance.

The problem with health care is one of supply and demand and controls that interfere. There's more demand than supply, and that's why the price goes up. Legislators, by mandating health care coverage, will only increase demand on a system that's already unable to keep up for a variety of reasons, most of them regulatory. Hagedorn knows his bill has problems, but he feels compelled to save the day.

"The alternative to this bill is to do nothing, and I don't find that acceptable," Hagedorn said, as quoted in the Denver Post.

Mr. Hagedorn, please do nothing. It's the best thing you can do. The problems with health care have resulted from too much interference from politicians, not too little. You can't fix the system, and you'll only make it worse.