Walter E. Williams

If Congress and the president are successful in making the Pre-existing Condition Patient Protection Act the law of the land, their treachery won't stop there. Insurance companies will attempt to charge people with pre-existing health conditions a higher price to compensate for their higher expected cost. Those people will complain to Congress. Then Congress will enact insurance premium price controls. Insurance companies might try to restrict just what treatments they will cover under such restrictions. That means Congress will play a greater role in managing what insurance companies can and cannot do.

The dilemma Congress always faces, when it messes with the economy, was aptly described in a Negro spiritual play by Marcus Cook Connelly titled "Green Pastures." In it, God laments to the angel Gabriel, "Every time Ah passes a miracle, Ah has to pass fo' or five mo' to ketch up wid it," adding, "Even bein God ain't no bed of roses." When Congress creates a miracle for one American, it creates a non-miracle for another. After that, Congress has to create a compensatory miracle. Many years ago, I used to testify before Congress, something I refuse to do now. At several of the hearings, I urged Congress to get out of the miracle business and leave miracle making up to God.

For a president and congressman to shamelessly propose something like the Pre-existing Condition Patient Protection Act demonstrates just how far we've gone down the road to perdition. The most tragic thing is that most Americans have no idea that such an act violates every principle of insurance and it's something that not even yesteryear's lunatics would have thought up.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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