Thursday, October 8, 2009

Teresi: Free Market Best For Health Insurance Reform

The October 7, 2009 Colorado Springs Gazette has published an excellent OpEd by Amanda Teresi entitled, "Return to free market best hope for health insurance reform".

Here's an excerpt:
...In a free market, insurers and consumers voluntarily make an agreement to mutual benefit. When politicians dictate what policies and services will be sold and to whom, those politicians undercut people's ability to reach insurance agreements that work best for them.

In a free market, companies that don't take care of their customers risk losing them to a competitor, creating an incentive to provide the best service at the best price. When there is no free market for health insurance, there is less competition, resulting in less need to out-bid competitors for our business.

A free market also depends on the reliability of contracts. Once a contract between an insurance company and an individual is made, breaking that contract should be punishable by law. This means that if an insured individual's coverage is dropped when they find a medical problem that was covered, they should be able to sue the company for breach of contract.

It is true that many people today with pre-existing conditions have trouble finding affordable coverage. But politicians, not a free market, created the problem.

Currently, employer-based insurance makes it difficult for those with pre-existing conditions to stay on the same insurance because it is not portable. Current tax law that favors employer-sponsored insurance over directly purchased plans makes it more likely individuals will be tied to their employer for insurance.

Insurance is meant to hedge against unforeseen, catastrophic events or illnesses, as opposed to covering every doctor visit. If it were, protection against major health problems or accidents would be possible for a majority of individuals and pre-existing conditions would be much less of a worry for those who need coverage...
(Read the full text of "Return to free market best hope for health insurance reform".)

Thank you, Amanda, for making these excellent points!