Twenty-seven states have now challenged the Obamacare requirement that all citizens purchase health care, in general claiming that it represents an unwarranted intrusion on an individual’s right to maintain control of his own health care.
In November, Ohio joined the fray. On the ballot was a question about whether Ohio should be allowed to adopt a Massachusetts-like requirement that everyone buy health care. The amendment prohibited the Ohio legislature from adopting a similar measure, and it passed overwhelmingly.
The Obama administration has maintained that Obamacare lowers health costs by:
- Providing free preventive care for senior citizens.
- Children stay on parents’ health insurance longer.
- Insurance companies have to provide rebates to consumers after guidelines are met.
However, in my opinion the claims are both wrong and pointing in the wrong direction. “Free” preventive care for seniors isn’t free – it’s taxpayer-paid or insurer-paid. There’s a difference.
We all agree that appropriate preventive care is a key component in maintaining health, but what good is preventive care if the patient chooses not to use it or if she ignores the recommendations of her doctor? Lots of overweight people are told by their doctors that they should lose weight. How many do? Our obesity epidemic answers that question.
Likewise, as I discussed the other day, keeping children on their parents’ plan doesn’t lower costs – it shifts costs from taxpayers to insurers to employers with insurance plans. It stops cold ANY sub-26-year-old from spending even one cent of his own money on a health plan. It would be far better to allow carriers to offer rock-bottom pricing to the sub-26 crowd that accurately represents their health risk. Entice them to purchase health care – don’t just push their costs of onto others.
And the last point is particularly egregious in its assumption that somehow insurers are the cause of high health care. The average insurer in Massachusetts spends less than a dime to administer each dollar of health care, and they earn less than a penny.
Maybe on a national basis carriers are three times as profitable as MA’s non-profits. OK, that’s 3 cents on the health care dollar. How, pray tell, is 3 cents somehow responsible for the runaway costs of the other 97 cents?
The fact is that nationally about 85 percent of health care costs are doctors, hospitals, clinics, drugs, etc. THAT’S where the health care dollar is spent, and that’s where we ought to be focusing our attention, and the best way to control those costs – proven by the tiered networks in Massachusetts – is to force competition onto the health providers. They’ll respond in a positive way, just as always happens in a free market economy.