Dr. Beth Haynes makes a surprising but warranted claim in her recent article for Huffington Post: “Very few Americans have health insurance . . . because what people call health insurance really isn't insurance at all.”
Real insurance, Haynes explains, covers high-cost, catastrophic events, not routine care. What usually passes for health insurance today is actually “prepayment of medical expenses.” Unfortunately, Haynes notes, ObamaCare makes this problem worse by mandating that “insurance” cover various types of routine care such as “health maintenance checks.” Haynes points out the absurdity of this: “It's like having a law requiring homeowner's insurance to pay for lawn care, house painting and water heater replacement.”
The consequence, Haynes notes, is that insurance companies have less money to cover truly catastrophic events; thus, “when we are at our most vulnerable, we are less protected.” Because the federal government requires insurance companies to spend more on routine care, that money is not available for emergencies or catastrophes. The government’s solution to the problem? To heck with the emergencies! Haynes offers the example of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “under pressure” to declare fewer premature infants eligible for treatment and to restrict the amount of care that insurance will cover for them.
Haynes admirably describes some of the key problems with ObamaCare and insurance mandates, and she identifies part of the solution: “We have to allow our health coverage to conform to the requirements of true insurance.” But I would like to emphasize the moral principle that ObamaCare and all such mandates violate: the principle of individual rights.
Insurance providers have a moral right to offer insurance packages they deem best for business, and customers have a moral right to seek the type of insurance that best meets their needs. Because the federal government increasingly violates the rights both of providers and consumers of health insurance to freely negotiate terms according to their own judgment, the government increasingly throttles people’s ability to serve their own interests.
Kudos to Dr. Haynes for pointing out some of the destructive consequences of government interference in health insurance. Let’s demand an end to this rights-violating practice.
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Image: Wikimedia Commons (Elizabeth Cromwell)