Americans’ Pre-existing Condition of Childishness

By:  Selwyn Duke
09/23/2013
       
Americans’ Pre-existing Condition of Childishness

So many of today's political arguments amount to childish denials of reality. And one good example is the rationale behind forcing insurance companies to cover "pre-existing conditions."

“Because!” This was a common childhood justification. A kid wouldn’t be able to provide a good reason for his little agenda, but, well, children want what they want. So he just might say, “Because!”    

One sign of having truly reached emotional adulthood is the ability to accept life’s harsh realities, yet many positions people take today amount to little more than a stamping-of-the-foot “Because!”

A good example concerns medical coverage and “pre-existing conditions.” I’ve actually heard people say things such as, “Insurance companies have their pre-existing-condition policies only because they don’t want to pay for things.” Well, yes. And?

Now, what if I said the following to such a person: If paying for someone’s pre-existing medical problem is such a moral imperative, why don’t you foot the bill? The individual just might reply that he’s not in that business.

Neither are insurance companies.

To illustrate the point, imagine you have a concern offering fire insurance, and I call you and say, “My house is on fire; I want you to cover my damages.” After wondering if I was mentally unhinged, you’d no doubt say that the time to purchase fire insurance was years ago, that it’s too late once flames billow from window and door. But why?

It’s just a pre-existing condition.

Understand the business and purpose of insurance. Insurance companies aren’t charities; they don’t offer coverage because they care about people’s health any more than McDonald’s started making hamburgers to alleviate hunger. Rather, a company knows that if it offers insurance to many thousands of healthy people, most won’t get severely ill. So while it will lose on the small percentage who do, overall it can make money. In return, the customer knows that if some catastrophic illness befalls him, medical care he couldn’t afford himself will be covered. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

But forcing companies to cover pre-existing conditions turns this into a one-way relationship, where the customer can simply say, “I’m sick — pay my bills.” Support that if you like, but it’s not insurance.

It’s called a handout.

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