The Corner

Health Insurance and Choice

Yesterday I commented on Jonathan Cohn’s argument that McCain’s health plan, by encouraging competition among regulators, would keep people from being able to get the type of insurance plans they would like. In today’s New York Post, Michael Cannon takes up the argument.

But Obama sees choice as dangerous. He fears that “where there are no requirements for you to get cancer screenings,” no insurers would offer such coverage. The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn echoes, “Less cancer screening under McCain’s plan? Actually, yes.”

Nonsense. California doesn’t mandate colon-cancer screening, yet Kaiser Permanente of Northern California is a leader in such research and boasts the most aggressive screening program in the country.

Michigan doesn’t mandate prostate or cervical cancer screening, yet six of the University of Michigan’s seven insurance offerings cover both. That’s where Cohn gets his insurance, so I’ll bet him a fancy dinner that he has coverage for both, even without a mandate.

Cohn fears California consumers couldn’t enforce protections crafted in, say, Delaware. Evidently, he’s never heard of contract law, which lets California courts do just that.

Cohn frets that scam artists would cheat unwitting consumers – yet McCain’s proposal would make fraud less likely. If insurance commissioners spent less time fixing prices and telling law-abiding people what kind of health insurance to buy, they’d have more resources to prosecute bad guys.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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