by Robert Maynard
Obamacare was sold to the American people as an answer to the problem of people with no health care insurance. It is only now becoming apparent to the public that the intention is to heard everyone into a government controlled health insurance system. This has provoked a discussion about the hidden costs of health insurance and how it differs from other insurance. Here is an excerpt from an article on the subject by the Independent Institute’s John Goodman:
One reason why this issue has suddenly become a topic of discussion in the blogosphere and in the public policy community is that ObamaCare was sold to the public on deceptive terms. When he was campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama made it sound as though his health reform was only designed to help people who couldn’t afford health insurance afford it. Everyone else was going to be left alone. (“If you like the health plan you have you can keep it.”)
Then, on the eve of passage of the legislation, the focus changed to those few people (very few, it turns out) who are denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. At last count there are about 107,000 enrolled in newly created risk pools because of this problem.
But it has only been very recently that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and others have been in print explaining that ObamaCare won’t work unless the government controls the premiums paid by everybody in the entire country! No one ever said that during the presidential campaign or during the congressional debate. As far as the general public is concerned, this is a brand new idea.
There is one other way in which government regulation has caused health insurance to be different. Traditional indemnity insurance basically doesn’t exist anymore. What we call health insurance is really a health plan. It is an entity that controls what care you are entitled to and who can deliver it. When you choose a health plan, you are not just choosing an entity that will pay your medical bills. You are also choosing a network of doctors and hospitals and a set of protocols that determine how medicine will be practiced.