Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Health Insurance Mistake We're Going to Make

In any market, there has to be the freedom not to participate. Without that freedom, there is far less downward pressure on prices, and less incentive to compete.

What the Democrats will do instead is to enforce price controls on the market. They will say, as they do now with Medicare and other services, that a doctor must bill the government no more than what they bill other insurers for a given procedure or service.

That will cause doctors to do what every other regulated group has ever done: they will find ways around the regulations. They will find new services to provide -- or new labels for old services -- and bill whatever the market will bear. Prices will zoom out of sight.

In addition, if everyone has insurance, everyone will go to the doctor. People with head colds will line up for treatment, which will not be forthcoming. But they will still show up, and insist on being fixed.

I know this, because I've been to a hospital emergency room.

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