An Old "New" Program

By:  Thomas Sowell
11/06/2013
       
An Old "New" Program

Like so many things that seem new, ObamaCare is in many ways old wine in new bottles.

For example, when confronted with the fact that millions of Americans stand to lose their existing medical insurance, as a result of ObamaCare, defenders of ObamaCare say that this is true only when those people have "substandard" insurance.

Who decides what is "substandard"? What is older than the idea that some exalted elite know what is good for us better than we know ourselves? Obama uses the rhetoric of going "forward," but he is in fact going backward to an age when despots told everybody what they had better do and better not do.

ObamaCare is old in yet another way. One of the fundamental reasons why private medical insurance has gotten so expensive is that politicians in state after state have mandated what this insurance must cover, regardless of what individuals want.

Insurance covering everything from baldness treatments to sex-change operations is a lot more expensive than insurance covering only major illnesses that can drain your life's savings. Now these mandates have moved up from the state to the federal level.

Insurance is an institution for dealing with risks. It is a costly and counterproductive way to pay for things that are not risks — such as annual checkups, which are known in advance to occur every year.

Your annual checkup does not cost any less because it is covered by insurance. In fact it costs more, because the person who is insured must pay premiums that cover not only the cost of the checkup itself, but also the costs of insurance company paperwork.

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