Our ongoing debate about government's role in health care is proving worthwhile because it forces people to focus on the real tradeoffs in a system mandated - if not directly operated - by government, rather than one selected by individuals or their employers. Today, our system is a dysfunctional hybrid.
To the extent that we cannot choose the health care coverage we want today, those restrictions are almost always the result of previous government interventions - tax incentives that make it easier for employers to buy insurance than for employees to purchase their own or laws requiring us to purchase coverage we may not need or cannot afford.
President Obama says all insurance policies will be required to cover preventive care and early screening for various maladies, as if he can force insurance companies - or doctors - to give us something for nothing.
He can't do that anymore than he can require restaurants to serve a free lunch every Thursday. Even under Barack Obama, Americans cannot be compelled to do business at a loss; they always have the right to lock the doors and close up shop.
That's why there's no free lunch - or free health care. Politicians aren't "giving" us these services; they are forcing us to buy them - and to pay more than the actual cost.
It never ceases to amaze when politicians who demagogue against "greedy" insurance companies will, in their next breath, require us to buy things through an insurance company that we could purchase less expensively if we simply paid out of pocket.
If both you and your doctor know that you need a colonoscopy, how can it possibly be cheaper for you to send your payment to an insurance company, while the doctor files a claim with that insurance company, and the insurance company processes the claim and issues payment - rather than for you to simply pay the doctor?
Yet ObamaCare would establish a mandatory list of insurable procedures as well as maximum deductibles. For those with money-saving high-deductible plans and health savings accounts - like the one I've had for 12 years - the President's promise that we can keep the plan we have just doesn't wash.
Americans who are understandably frustrated by health care costs are recognizing that the more control you give to government the more control you give to government.
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