Daily Archives: March 14, 2012

Health insurance mandate makes sense

Critics of the Affordable Care Act complain that the provision requiring most people to purchase private health insurance makes an inroad on individual freedom.
They’re right.
In a perfect capitalist system, the fact that Mary Brown’s husband did not have health insurance would have created no financial imposition on others. Brown, a lead plaintiff in one of the lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act, and her husband recently declared bankruptcy when they had no insurance and could not afford medical bills that the husband incurred.
By declaring bankruptcy, they prevented medical providers from getting paid. The rest of us will pay the cost in the form of higher medical bills and increased insurance premiums.
In a perfect capitalist system, the providers would decline to treat those who could not either advance the money or show proof of insurance.
We have declined to implement a perfect capitalist system for the delivery of health care because, as a society, we do not want people dying for lack of treatment. We would rather pay the Browns’ bills than watch them suffer.
To reduce the social cost of protecting the Browns from themselves, the Affordable Care Act will require that they buy their own insurance. An intrusion on individual rights? Yes. Inefficient? Yes.
But is it a reasonable trade-off in a civilized nation? Absolutely.


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Filed under Free Market, Health care