The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another voice on the health care law, for the perusal of our readers

The following column by Marc Kilmer, originally published in the Baltimore Sun, was included in an e-mail I received from my local county Republican Party:

MPPI: Make Health Insurance Affordable by Choice, not Mandate

Do you need a mandate to force you to buy something you want or need? This question isn't asked by those who support a health insurance mandate, such as Dr. Edward Miller and Scott A. Berkowitz of Johns Hopkins ("Hopkins leaders support health insurance mandate," Aug. 9). The reason we have so many uninsured Marylanders is that health insurance is either too unaffordable or it doesn't offer a good value to those who can afford it. A mandate won't solve either of those problems.

Responding to self-interested lobbying groups, well-meaning legislators have mandated that any health insurance sold in Maryland must cover over 60 procedures, something that has dramatically raised the cost of insurance in this state. If you want insurance that doesn't cover, say, in vitro fertilization, you can't purchase it. There are also a number of restrictions on the price and type of health insurance that can be sold in the state.

If you want to escape Maryland's tough regulations, too bad. If you live in the Eastern Shore town of Delmar and want to purchase a cheaper policy from a broker across the street in Delmar, Del., you are legally prohibited from doing so. Now, with the passage of the so-called "Affordable Care Act," restrictions like Maryland are in place at the national level. This legislation will increase the cost of health insurance and then use tax dollars to subsidize its purchase for some people.

If we allowed health insurance to be bought and sold like other goods there would be no need for a health insurance mandate. If people could tailor the health insurance policy to meet their needs and desires and if they could buy health insurance across state lines, the vast majority of people could afford a policy giving them what they want. While some people would not have enough income to afford a policy, that's why we have safety net programs like Medicaid.

Instead of supporting a mandate forcing people to buy a product that is too expensive and doesn't offer people what they want, Dr. Miller and Mr. Berkowitz should advocate giving health insurance consumers more power. These consumers, not government bureaucrats, know what they can afford and what type of insurance is best for them.

A very good column, with which I heartily concur.


2thman said...

I think the view of this writer continues the confusion of this issue. We talk about health care insurance and managed health care in the same breath. Health insurance is by definition shared risk and should cover the unexpected. Managed heath care should cover the expected e.g., well baby care, doctor visits, maybe even pregnancy. Insurance should cover the life threatening incidents that we don't expect. As such we should be able to determine what we want to cover in managed care.With the caveat that you will not be seen if you can"t pay.
The writer is confusing the 2 systems as do most people.

Opinionator said...

You make something of a valid point. I've never really thought that the term "insurance" should be applied to what we have, because much of it is a prepayment for expected medical needs. However, "managed health care" means something else again -- things like HMOs. I would better talk of it, as I just said, as "health care prepayment." You pay a little every week or every month, so that you don't have to pay a big fee on the once-every-three-months, say, visit to the doctor.