Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The healthcare bill's mandate to buy health insurance

By now there's been clear coverage of the fact that requiring the purchase of health insurance coverage is historically a Republican idea. But leaving that ad hominem point aside, is there any reason actually to object to it?

The above article contains one important discussion point, from Mitt Romney before he became a laughing stock:

"'Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate,' Romney wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2006. 'But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.'

"Romney was referring to the federal law that requires everyone to be treated in emergency rooms, regardless of their ability to pay."

To sidestep Romney's argument, you pretty much need to demand that emergency rooms be permitted, and perhaps even strongly encouraged (to prevent penalizing compassion), to shut their doors to those who cannot pay for lifesaving services.

That's point 1. But there also is point 2, which admittedly would not appeal to a pure, slam-the-emergency-room doors, libertarian, but should be conclusive for anyone who supports any element whatsoever of redistribution (as from "ability to pay" taxation that is not rationalized purely on benefit grounds, or from supporting any kind of welfare system whatsoever).

As public economics types have understood for several decades, an income, consumption, or wage tax, especially if accompanied by any sort of welfare or public aid system, is best rationalized as mandatory earnings-ability insurance. Earn more and you pay more, do badly enough and perhaps you get something. Mandatory application of the insurance scheme is necessary to forestall adverse selection, which prevents markets from satisfying consumer demand for this particular insurance product. Grant the desirability of such a system - and rejecting it pretty much requires fetishizing markets even in the presence of clearly demonstrable market failure that otherwise would lead to frustrated consumer preferences - and the debate is over. Not about the healthcare bill itself, of course, but about the theoretical claim that there is anything wrong in principle with mandating the purchase of health insurance.

The only difference I can see between mandatory earnings-ability insurance and mandatory health insurance is that the latter is in kind, rather than in cash. But it pertains to a pretty universally demanded consumer good. This is not much like requiring people to buy cars that only some might want.

UPDATE: Another obvious analogy is to Social Security (mandatory retirement saving plus mandatory annuitization). Or for that matter Medicare, financed by mandatory payroll deductions, or unemployment insurance.

It's true that those are tied to deciding to work, whereas the health insurance mandate applies even if you stay home, but that makes no possible difference (why thus penalize working if it's otherwise illegitimate?), other than perhaps on some desperate stab at legal rather than normative analysis, emphasizing a pre-1930s view of the Commerce Clause.

8 comments:

Tony said...

When you are looking for health insurance or a private medical insurance plan, to ensure you get the best possible cover for all the major medical conditions and cancer it is important to consult with a specialist health insurance intermediary.

The People's Business said...

The article mentions two Republicans for the proposition than a mandate is a good idea - Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson. Does this really cement this concept as a Republican idea so much as one some Republicans have supported in the past?

Varsha Pawar said...

Several people tend not to have to be anxious about spending for their individual health related costs or about buying insurance cover due to the fact they dwell in countries where their particular government authorities consider treatment of them. Nevertheless, for the majority of people, we are much better off selecting into a health and fitness insurance policy plan, such as a group health insurance plan. But how do you acquire into one of these policies and what are they?

A group health policy is possibly not for family members or single people. It is acquired by employers who wish to supply their valuable staff with health protection. For worker to choose into the corporation health insurance plan, the person ought to work a specific amount of period each week or more.

All insurance coverage plans are completely different. They will are available at various expenses and will include several types of things. To find out what your insurance policy specifics are, you will require to question your boss about your policy, so you can find out how it works.

Group Health Insurance Plans

Ashish Pawar said...

Inexpensive medical insurance strategies are working excellent need recent years many years, considering the connection between world-wide tough economy definite throughout the world. Regardless of this, on the other hand, a lot of family members are capable of preserve a good deal upon their own insurance plan expenditures through acquiring an easily affordable medical health insurance which lets them stay guarded in the event of mishaps as well as unanticipated health problems. There are Kinds of Health care insurance Ideas offered. You'll find several forms of medical care insurance ideas in which people searching pertaining to affordable medical health insurance prepare can buy. Included in this are managing your health firm (The hmo), desired service provider corporation (PPO), fee-for program, as well as level associated with program strategies (Fea).

Get really cheap health insurance

Kevin Stelfox said...

I have to agree with Ashish. I have used an intermediary and they research all the companies for you and come up with the best premium.
Annuity Calculator

Lucie said...

When you get health insurance, you will sure that you are protective when it comes to health. Blue Cross is respected as an innovator in the health insurance industry. Quality health plans are available for individuals, families, and groups.

blue cross blue shield

sewi said...

Thanks for sharing such a nice information from this blog. I found it so interesting at last i found now what i am looking for.Please continue the good work and I look forward to more of your nice posts in creating the new SharePoint group. Its great. lidocaine

sewi said...

To be honest, I even could not imagine how hard it is to find decent piece of info on the above topic. play tetris free