Sunday, February 21, 2010

Out of the frying pan, into the fire

It's looking less and less likely that the current health care bill will be ratified by congress. This probability has some posing the question, what happens if nothing happens? They make the point that the cost of health insurance is sure to go up if we allow the status quo. Anthem's recently announced 39 percent hike to some premiums bears that out.

What they do not address is what would happen to the cost of health insurance if the health care bill were passed.

Let's take a look at that. The bill turns 94% of Americans into a captive market for the health insurance industry, adding millions of revenue streams to their coffers. When all Americans are required to buy health insurance, what incentive will the industry have to cut premiums? Proponents of the bill would answer that it sets up an insurance "exchange" to create the competitive forces that drive prices down. But we already have an insurance exchange -- it's called the free enterprise marketplace. And look how well that has done at keeping prices down.

So instead of asking what happens if nothing happens, we should be asking what happens if the bill does pass. It could be a lot worse than the status quo.

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