My friend and Cato Institute chairman Bob Levy is a master at reducing complexity into order and common sense. Reading Bob’s explanation of the Obama health care deception will make you wonder what sort of politician could ever have voted for such a fraud. Bob offers a cogent way out of the job-killing financial sinkhole the Obama administration has dug for us all.
Unfortunately, government has long been a major player in redistributing wealth. Many Americans — myself included — don’t believe that’s a legitimate function of government. But at least there’s been a semblance of transparency so voters could express their preferences.
Taxes are levied to fund food stamps, welfare, housing, Medicare, and numerous other redistributive programs. Similarly, if a tax had been levied to fund contraception coverage for those who needed it and couldn’t pay the bills, voters could have opted to approve or not.
Instead, ObamaCare has erected a complex, opaque, costly and wasteful structure that forces businesses to cover contraception for all employees — the vast majority of whom do not require it and would not buy it. Such is the nature of government mandates.
Adding insult to injury, proponents of ObamaCare assert, without substantiation, that compulsory coverage of contraception will save money in the long run. Presumably, insurance companies won’t have to pay for medical care related to pregnancies that contraception would have prevented.
In other words, executives running a multibillion-dollar industry — until they were enlightened by government bureaucrats — were too ignorant to understand that providing “free” contraception to everybody costs less than covering a few pregnancies.
In reality, however, if there were no contraception mandate in ObamaCare, insurers would have to pay incrementally only for pregnancies of those people who had policies covering childbirth, got pregnant because they didn’t use contraception and would have used contraception but for their inability to afford either birth control or contraception insurance.
Of course, that hypothetical saving is wholly illusory. What’s really at work is breathtaking arrogance of power by the federal government — a Washington, D.C., takeover of health care.
Americans deserve better. First, expedite competition by allowing interstate sales of health insurance. Second, encourage the states to reform their medical malpractice laws. Third, eliminate constraints on health savings accounts with high-deductible coverage.
Fourth, charge higher premiums for those who enroll with pre-existing conditions; or, alternatively, do not cover high-cost procedures until a specified number of months elapse after enrollment.
Fifth and most important, change the tax treatment of health insurance, which discriminates against individually customized policies in favor of employer-provided coverage.
In lieu of those sensible improvements, the Obama administration has given us wealth redistribution deceptively camouflaged as insurance reform.