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NRO’s health-care blog.

That Took No Time At All: Part II



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The Hill now reports that its earlier story on Congressman Eric Cantor’s backpedaling on repeal of Obamacare was incorrect. He does not seek to preserve the proscription on exclusion of patients with preexisting conditions or the provision allowing 26-year-olds to remain on their parents’ policies. No indeed: Cantor continues to favor a full repeal of Obamacare. 

Except that “We too don’t want to accept any insurance company’s denial of someone and coverage for that person because he or she may have [a] pre-existing condition. And likewise we want to make sure that someone of your age has the ability to access affordable care, whether it’s under your parents [sic] plan or elsewhere.” 

So there we have it. Cantor favors a repeal of Obamacare; but promises separate legislation essentially reinstating it, with some differences in details from current law. Oh, please. If there is not actuarially fair pricing of coverage and no denial of coverage because of preexisting conditions, then the private insurance market will collapse, in that incentives to buy “insurance” only when sick will be powerful. Perhaps Cantor believes that we simply can subsidize the purchase of coverage for those with preexisting conditions. Not so fast: Will the Beltway really be able to define such conditions carefully and calibrate the appropriate subsidies? As the subsidies and the subsidized pool grow in response to the inevitable political pressures, how will a federal takeover of the insurance market be avoided?  Etc.

Just as Mitt Romney inevitably will fail in his desperate quest to differentiate Romney-care from Obamacare — sorry, but they are identical in their essentials — so too will Republicans fail to prevent the descent into a single-payer system, with all of its perversities, by allowing the polls to dictate their policy proposals. We need to get the government out of the market for insurance contracts, out of the doctor-patient relationship, and out of the business of price controls on health-care services. The best we can do is subsidize the purchase of private coverage by those in financial need. The Cantor approach — if the reporting by The Hill is accurate — is worse than merely unprincipled. It will accelerate America’s metamorphosis into France. 

— Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.
 



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