The Examiner’s Tim Carney had a fine op-ed last week warning conservatives not to trust health insurance companies on health care:
Insurance companies lobby for big-government regulations, subsidies, mandates, and tax-code distortions that funnel them money, keep out competition, and stultify innovation. These policies preserve the employer-based health-care system that mocks the idea of free-market competition. Then they cry “unfair competition” when government threatens to encroach on their government-protected monopolies.
But they’re not just lobbying against a government option. Today, health insurers are lobbying to force you and me to buy their product or face a tax hike (the individual mandate). They are lobbying to force entrepreneurs to buy insurance for employees (the employer mandate). They are lobbying for more subsidies paid for by us taxpayers. In short, they are lobbying against regular people and against the free market.
The industry’s real trouble begins in 2011, when 79 million baby boomers begin turning 65. Health insurers stand to lose a huge slice of their commercially insured enrollment (estimated at 162 million to 172 million people) over the next two decades to Medicare, the government-funded health insurance program for seniors.
“The rate of aging far and away exceeds the birth rate,” said Sheryl Skolnick, a CRT Capital Group healthcare investment analyst.
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management Department Chair Sherry Glied explained what is really going on in New England Journal of Medicine:
The relative invisibility of the mandate ’tax’ may make it easier for special interests to achieve their goals. The mandate, then, would become a means through which special interests use government to force transfers of funds from consumers to the health care sector.
If we as a nation are already spending too much money on health care, then why is the government forcing Americans to spend even more?