This Cato Institute research paper is spot on in its analysis. I found this information to be particularly powerful:
Compulsory health insurance could require nearly 100 million Americans to switch to a more expensive health plan and would therefore violate President Barack Obama’s pledge to let people keep their current health insurance. In particular, the legislation before Congress could eliminate many or all health savings account plans. Making health insurance compulsory would also spark an unnecessary fight over abortion and would enable government to ration care to those with private health insurance.
Obama adviser Larry Summers writes that mandates “are like public programs financed by benefit taxes,” meaning that compulsory health insurance would also violate President Obama’s promise not to increase taxes on the middle class. Under the House Democrats’ legislation, some middle-income earners would face marginal tax rates over 50 percent (before state taxes).
It’s been established that President Obama’s promises aren’t worth anything, often because they’ve all been broken. President Obama’s initial pledge that people could keep their health care plan if they liked it isn’t credible in light of the mandates included in the Democrats’ health care legislation. With all of the mandates included, there’s little chance that people can keep their policies.
Mandates in the various bills appear to drive HSAs out of existence. Democrats, including President Obama, should be forced to explain why HSAs are being driven out of existence. It’s long been my belief that making people better health care shoppers would lower health care costs. It’s also been my belief that a policy with minimal mandates, a few basic coverages, a modest deductible and catastrophic insurance would be significantly cheaper than the policies that the Democrats’ mandates would allow.
If you bring the cost of health insurance down without price controls, more people would buy it. There’s little doubt but that people whose incomes are in the $75,000-$100,000 range choose to go without health because of the priciness of insurance premiums. If premiums drop, there’s little doubt that they’ll start buying health insurance again.
The experience in Massachusetts belies the claim that compulsory health insurance brings down health care costs. The “shared responsibility” ruse allows Massachusetts politicians to declare success for a compulsory health insurance scheme whose actual costs reveal it to be a failure. Massachusetts also demonstrates that compulsory health insurance enables, and ultimately requires, politicians and government bureaus to control nearly all aspects of health care and medical practice.
Simply put, mandated health care ruined people’s lives in Massachusetts. It’s an abject failure. Health care costs have skyrocketed. Taxes are going up. Does that sound like success to you? The only thing that’s worse than MittCare is Mitt Romney on TV criticizing the Democrats’ health care legislation.
Mitt would do well to learn the first rule of holes, which is, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. It’s obvious that Mitt hasn’t learned that lesson. He insists that his idea is a free market plan. I didn’t know that mandates became part of a free marketer’s first principles.
Whether at the state or federal levels, mandates aren’t part of a free market advocate’s vocabulary. The words free markets and mandates fit into the same sentence as smoothly as fist fits into a glove. They simply don’t go together.
I wrote yesterday that I’d doubt that most mandates would pass a laugh test. Essentially, they’re monuments to special interests. Most mandates have little to do with smart health care policy.
The Democrats’ legislation is built on a faulty premise. They think that it’s most important to start with covering everyone, then forcing the other pieces of the puzzle to fit together once their first goal is accomplished. I’d argue that there’d be a better chance of success if health insurance was made more affordable by limiting mandates and by forcing people to be better health care shoppers.
Once prices dropped, I’d bet that most of the people who choose not to buy insurance would start buying health insurance again. Building a health insurance policy on those principles would make portability a better option, too.
I’d submit that my idea is vastly superior to anything that the Democrats have put into their legislation, mostly because their legislation does nothing to reduce health insurance or health care costs but also because their legislation does little to insure all of the uninsured.
Why should we call the Democrats’ plans smart when they do little to insure the uninsured and do even less to lower health care costs? Only in Washington, DC could they call that reform.
Cross-posted at California Conservative