Affordable Health Insurance a Top National Priority
Just about anyone in America would agree that affordable health insurance is a top priority in making the health care more accessible for families and individuals. That's about where the agreements end and the disagreements begin. The debate as to how to create access to affordable health insurance has become much more complex than is necessary. However, some have over-simplified the debate and insist it is entirely the fault of the insurance companies, just as Lisa Drummond, RN, BSN has in her op-ed at the Taylor Daily Press.
Let's take a look at some of the misconceptions concerning affordable health insurance. First we must dispel the belief that health care is a "right" in this nation. Health care, nor access to, are a stated "right" in any of our nation's founding documents. The opportunity to live your life in a manner in which you can afford such care is a "right". However, it is not the government's, nor taxpayers', obligation to provide nor subsidize such care.
Secondly, the number of Americans without health insurance is worthy of debate. The argument goes that there are an estimated 45 million Americans without insurance. This is the number that many use in proposing "reform" for affordable health insurance. However, a Johns Hopkins University study showed that an estimated one-half of those 45 million are able to afford health care insurance, yet choose not to carry it. Let's face it, who plans to get sick or be in an accident? There are countless Americans who choose to spend their money on something other than a plan that will benefit them in the small chance that something unexpected will happen.
To remedy this situation and create affordable health insurance for Americans, some propose more government intervention. Critics accuse insurance companies of garnering "massive" profit margins and cutting corners in order to save a buck at the expense of the sick client. Insurance companies are accused of spending millions in order to find ways to lesson payouts and find loopholes for them to save money. Are all insurance companies as pure as the wind-driven snow? No. However, all the blame cannot be placed at their feet.
The bad little secret though is it is government intervention that is hampering such reform for affordable health insurance. Rules and regulations concerning the sale of health insurance across state lines prevent real competition and stifle any free-market reform that would occur naturally. For example, a family of four living in Kansas City could pay around $180 per month for a plan with a $2,000 deductible and 20% co-pay. That same family would have to pay between $900 and $1,000 per month if they lived in the New York and New Jersey area.
Government mandates on what must be covered under insurance plans are a main reason behind these cost fluctuations state to state. These various mandates and policies are a major road block for affordable health insurance. There are some 12 states that require health insurance policies to cover acupuncture. Other states require policies to carry podiatry, chiropractic, and other forms of care that policy holders may never use. The truth is that the road to affordable health insurance for more Americans means less government involvement, not more.