Well, it’s all but signed now.
Health Care has cleared the House of Representatives. Now, it goes to Obama’s desk. Now, we’ll see how the long-term effects play out.
The bill requires virtually everyone in the United States to purchase health insurance. It contains financial aid to help people purchase insurance, but no “public option” creating a government-owned insurance company. All policies will be purchased from private insurers. On the flip side, insurers will no longer be allowed to deny a person coverage or charge them more due to a pre-existing condition. Both policies require the other – if people were not required to buy insurance, they would simply wait until they got sick before buying. If insurance companies could turn people down, then people legally required to buy insurance couldn’t buy it.
What this essentially does is take away insurance corporation’s freedom to make business choices, while simultaneously supplying them with tens of millions of new customers. The trouble is, insurance companies currently disqualify people with pre-existing conditions because they are not likely to be profitable for the company to insure. Upon being forced to insure millions of unprofitable customers, insurance companies will quite possibly become financially insolvent in the long term and require hundreds of billions of dollars in federal bailouts to maintain our national health system. Insurance corporations would become virtually a part of the government, and the “public option” would effectively become reality.
On the other hand, the influx of new customers could create more profits for insurance companies, since many people currently without health insurance are young and healthy people who choose not to buy it. This will lead to insurance companies standing to gain from the maintenance of the current system, leading to these corporations gaining undue political influence on national policy decisions. An industry getting a law passed which requires everyone in America to buy their product is unheard of in American history. What’s more, the bill does not contain any price controls on insurance. Once all Americans are required to own health insurance, what’s to stop insurance companies from tripling their prices? No one will have any choice but to pay. Federal financial aid is based on a person’s income as a percentage of the poverty line, not the cost of insurance. Insurance corporations have literally been given the power to bankrupt many people for their own profits if they choose to do so.
What is clear is that the health care bill will not, as Nancy Pelosi predicted, “unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power into our economy.” Neither is it a socialist bill. Instead, it represents a move towards a corporate state, where privately owned corporations become a virtual part of the government and influence the government into passing laws which serve to benefit them by increasing their customer base or harming their competition. Corporatism is a violation of the way free markets and free democracies are supposed to work. It is not free in any sense of the term.
In short, governments should be for all the people, not just for those with lots of money and influence. Free markets should be truly free. An environment where large corporations use their influence to pass laws creating monopolies, requiring people to buy their product and expanding corporate profits is not a free market. Corporatism is as much of a threat to American freedom as socialism.