When you Shake Hands with the Devil, Healthcare Style
by Dave Cribbin
When they cut their deal with the Administration the insurance companies rolled the dice and came up snake eyes. They traded away proper insurance underwriting practices in order to capture a larger customer base, one that would be guaranteed through government force. Like their auto company brethren who struck their own Faustian bargains before them, they have come away a several fingers shy!
After promising the insurance companies a government mandate that would force young people under penalty of fines to purchase insurance (not very American sounding, is it?) the administration's minions in the Finance Committee said Oops, we lied. They watered down their mandate, delaying it's start date and reducing the penalties enough as to make it ineffective, leaving the insurance industry hanging out to dry.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to shed a single tear for the insurance companies. The bargain they sought with the Administration was despicable. They know how insurance works and doesn't work, and have played the go along get along game with the government for far too long, instead of being a force for positive change. This time it came back to bite them, and they're going to need stitches to close the wound.
The Government in it's extremely finite wisdom is doing exactly the wrong things to fix the problem of rising health care costs.
A quick history lesson for those who have forgotten. It was the Government's involvement in health care, subsidizing employer sponsored insurance payments by making them tax deductible, in order to cure other problems it created by imposing wage and price controls during World War II, that started us down the road to health care ruin in the first place. When you subsidize something the demand for it goes up. It's like having a clearance sale! The very same politicians who believe so strongly in incentives when they are handing out $7,500 of your tax dollars so their fellow eco-warriors can drive green in a $40,000 electric vehicle are just undone by the fact that subsidizing health care has lead to an increased demand for it.
The solution to rising health care costs is LESS GOVERNMENT, NOT MORE!
The government needs to let insurance companies get back to selling insurance, which is a protection against a loss that is not economically recoverable from. Insurance is not a payment system designed to take the brain power out of the decision to go see a doctor simply because the cost of that visit is near zero.
The government needs to stop subsidizing health care via the tax code. When consumers of health care start to pay the real costs of the health care they purchase they will respond, like they do when the price of any other commodity they purchase increases. They will reduce their demand for it.
The government mandating what procedures need to be included in an individual's policy needs to end. Only the consumer can know what is of real value to them, and what they are willing to freely exchange their hard earned dollars for. When they are able to shop and compare costs and benefits, they will.
We need to let doctors be doctors and practice medicine again, instead of having to practice the bizarre form of health care CYA that an out-of-control trial lawyer lobby has forced upon them through outrageous malpractice awards.
Until we get the Government out health care, no real reform will be possible, and Government will continue to play their game, which is to shift costs onto what ever group happens to occupy their demon of the day spotlight.
Below is a link with the fax number of every senator who is voting on the bill today. Send your senator a note and let him know how you feel.
Dave Cribbin is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.