Thursday, August 30, 2007

Inconvenient Truth About Health Insurance

Media accounts of the U.S. Census Bureau's report of health insurance and poverty in America were not responsible for the wild swings in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this week, but you might be forgiven for thinking so.

The New York Times sobbed yesterday:

The bureau reported a large increase in the number of Americans who lack health insurance, data that ought to send an unmistakable message to Washington: vigorous action is needed to reverse this alarming and intractable trend.

Interestingly, the Club for Growth responded with the opposite diagnosis and prescription:

Of course, Hillary Clinton and her cronies fail to mention that of the 2.2 million people who became uninsured in 2006, 1.4 million, or 64%, had a household income of $75,000 or higher. In other words, an overwhelming majority of the newly uninsured can afford health insurance but are making the choice to forgo insurance because they believe it is not worth the expense.

“The conclusion to draw from this statistic is not socialized medicine,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey, “but the need to deregulate healthcare in this country and make health insurance more affordable. One of the best ways to do this is by passing Rep. John Shadegg’s Healthcare Choice Act, allowing insurance companies to comply with any one state’s regulatory regime and sell to individuals in all 50 states. Healthcare in this country is so overregulated and expensive, some states, like Washington, require health insurance companies to cover such crucial procedures as acupuncture, chiropractors, and massage therapy. It’s no wonder more Americans are choosing not to purchase state-mandated luxury health insurance policies.”

In much the same way government-control proponents argue we need to run up taxes on gasoline because it is hot outside, they want us to believe that we need to dismantle our health insurance markets and turn everyone over to the government because a growing chunk of the upper-middle class is deciding to flee the over-regulated, over-priced health insurance markets.

The facts clearly indicate the poor in America are gaining insurance coverage rapidly and the middle class would benefit from deregulation, not a government takeover.