Advocates of universal coverage seek to create a society in which, if you can’t afford health insurance, the government forces others to provide it for you. What is the moral defense for treating some people as slaves to the needs of others?
In a world where genetic testing is continually becoming more reliable and affordable, many people are wary of finding out their genetic makeup because they fear insurance companies will ask for the results. If your test shows that you are at high-risk for developing a disease, like Alzheimer’s, insurance companies may charge you higher premiums or may even decide that you pose too great a risk and turn down your application for coverage.
The American Enterprise Institute recently published a paper, authored by eight economists, detailing the alternative health care system they prefer to Obamacare. I disagree with much of what they have to say, but I want to focus here on one crucial problem: The paper tries to achieve the impossible.
In the New York Times, Robert H. Frank, a Cornell economics professor, discusses the “market failure” he sees as necessitating Obamacare. According to Frank, “unregulated insurance markets [are] a catastrophically ineffective way” of achieving “universal” health care, which he considers the goal of health reform efforts.
In a recent article, Megan McArdle considers why insuring her dog is much cheaper than insuring a person. McArdle sees two reasons. Many of today’s highly advanced, expensive medical treatments are not available in veterinary medicine.
Obamacare requires young people to pay higher health insurance premiums in order to subsidize older people’s coverage. But don’t worry, say Obamacare’s defenders: Many young people will qualify for federal subsidies to offset the higher premiums.
A recent NPR story described efforts to extend the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to long-term care insurance providers. GINA, passed in 2008, prohibits health insurers from taking into account genetic information about you when deciding what coverage to offer you and at what price.