John Stossel has a column today in Jewish World Review on health care reform. If what President Obama wants is more choice and competition, Stossel says, he’s going about it the wrong way.
If competition is a discovery process, the congressional bills would impose the opposite of competition. They would forbid real choice.
In place of the variety of products that competition would generate, we would be forced “choose” among virtually identical insurance plans. Government would define these plans down to the last detail. Every one would have at least the same “basic” coverage, including physical exams, maternity benefits, well-baby care, alcoholism treatment and mental-health services. Consumers could not buy a cheap, high-deductible catastrophic policy. Every insurance company would have to use an identical government-designed pricing structure. Prices would be the same for sick and healthy.
It’s not hard to see that forcing insurance companies to charge everyone the same price will reduce choice for American health care consumers – if only the politicians would get it!