The government monopoly on health care presents a spending crisis that will implode on the next generation of taxpayers, but also presents an evolving and difficult regulatory framework. Developments that have allowed greater private market competition in health care – such as Medicare Part D – have brought down costs while eliminating public pressure to regulate. Other areas, such as Medicare parts A and B, remain government-run monopolies whose looming insolvency is used to justify further regulation of the health care marketplace.
This is the justification behind the Independent Advisory Payment Board (IPAB) created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). However, IPAB is prohibited from enacting lasting reform to the insolvent Medicare program; as such, savings imagined by its proponents rely on the assumption that the panel composed of 15 bureaucrats will be empowered to find savings that would be unpalatable to politically-interested lawmakers. This huge deferral of responsibility to a faceless regulatory board bodes poorly for taxpayers who wish to be in charge of their own health care.
Another pillar of PPACA is the creation of health insurance “exchanges” from which, over time, virtually all families will be mandated to purchase health insurance. These exchanges feature competing private sector plans, but this is merely a façade. The federal government in Washington will micro-manage every detail of the plans that are offered—creating government-run health insurance by proxy. Like Henry Ford said of his cars, you can have any color you want so long as it’s black. When the government controls what health insurance looks like, it will inevitably lead to politically-motivated regulations and, eventually, rationing. A better solution would be to put patients in charge of their own health care, paying for their own routine health needs with their own money in a transparent free market.
Health insurance, provided by the private sector without interference from Washington, should be an emergency product you hope never to use, like car insurance or homeowner insurance.
TAGS: Health Care