Schwartz on Health Mandates

Brian Schwartz wrote an article titled, “The Collective Punishment Model,” for today’s TCS Daily:

Politicians peddle compulsory insurance under the guise of “personal responsibility.” The story is that the uninsured receive medical care without paying for it. Their freeloading passes costs onto the insured, which increases premium costs. Compulsory insurance, say its supporters, can remedy this problem by forcing both the insured and uninsured to purchase medical insurance – as defined by politicians.

Schwartz offers three basic replies to this rationale for mandated insurance. “First, freeloading from the uninsured does not significantly increase insurance premiums.” However, the various proposals to impose more political controls on medicine would cost far more.

Second, holding people responsible would mean punishing freeloaders themselves and allowing providers to prevent customers from skipping out on the bill. This is the exact opposite of compulsory insurance, which forces the innocent to purchase insurance policies determined by political interests, rather than their own needs.

I would point out here that, in a voluntary system, such “freeloaders” often would receive charity, either from health-care providers or from independent donors.

“Third, government controls already punish the innocent – insured and uninsured alike – by making medical care and insurance prohibitively expensive.”

The biggest reason that some people lack health insurance is that political controls have dramatically increased the costs of health insurance. Now, because of the harm caused by those political controls, some “reformers” wish to impose still more political controls.