Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Schwartz LTE On Insurance Costs

The May 6, 2008 Rocky Mountain News printed the following LTE by Brian Schwartz on insurance costs:
Insurance headed in wrong direction

Darla Stuart ("Break for the insured," Speakout, April 22) writes that since "Colorado's citizens and businesses deserve to know the real cost of the health-care insurance products they are buying," politicians should force insurance companies to provide "transparency." But we really deserve to know how politicians have inflated insurance costs in the first place.

Tax policy encourages employer-based insurance, which essentially chains us to one insurer. Shielded from competition, insurers need not compete on price very much.

State-level bureaucrats succumb to special interests by burdening small-group policies with many benefits we do not need. The Congressional Budget Office reports that such mandated benefits increase premiums by at least 6 percent, and possibly more than 10 percent. It also reports that community rating laws increase premiums by 9 percent.

What's becoming increasingly transparent is where allegedly well-intentioned controls like House Bill 1389 will lead: politician-controlled health care and insurance where bureaucrats make decisions that rightfully belong to us and our physicians.