Hillman Defends Liberty in Medicine

Mark Hillman, a former Republican state senator, has come out with an excellent critique of a new legislative proposal to impose Massachusetts-style health controls in Colorado. The measure, Senate Bill 217, would force everyone to buy politically-approved health insurance and expand health welfare. I lambasted the proposal yesterday.

In a Speakout for the Rocky Mountain News, Hillman explains:

In calling for health insurance companies to design “value benefit plans” to provide a low-cost insurance alternative, the bill says that the state “shall not specify benefits or other details” of those plans. Just two paragraphs later, however, the bill stipulates a dozen mandated benefits or other details that value benefit plans must include.

Essentially, insurers are prohibited from proposing anything that’s remotely innovative. They are commanded not to “interfere with the existing small-group market” but are locked into the same rating criteria that has devastated that market for most of the last decade. …

SB 217 does change the existing health-care market in one dramatic respect, by signaling to insurance companies that state government is ready to force its incorrigible citizens to buy health insurance, even if it’s unaffordable.

The bill calls for “a requirement that all Coloradans obtain health insurance either individually or through their employer” and provides for enforcement “though the state tax laws.”

Rather than allow insurers to offer new choices or allow consumers to obtain coverage across state lines where Colorado’s draconian regulations aren’t strangling the market, legislators prefer to penalize taxpayers for the audacity of refusing to buy insurance that costs too much.

Hillman’s analysis is right on. I can only hope his former colleagues are paying attention. It’s nice to see that a leader of Hillman’s stature — and a party man to boot — takes seriously liberty in Colorado.