Friday, July 22, 2011

More than one mandate to kill

One element of the federal debt limit debate seems to be turning to a Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare's requirement that all people buy health insurance.

The so-called "individual mandate," though, isn't the worst part of ObamaCare. And pulling it out by itself leaves the worst part to wreck healthcare in America even faster.

The worst part of ObamaCare is the requirement that health insurance companies provide coverage to all applicants without regard for pre-existing health conditions. This provision removes market forces from health insurance and leaves the only remaining issue as whether premium payments come directly from consumers or from the government. As costs continue to spiral upward, more consumers will be unable to pay and Medicaid will get bigger and bigger.

Removing only the individual mandate will just make that devolution occur faster because younger and healthier people will avoid the whole mess and self-insure. That leaves older and sicker people to drive up costs faster in the government-controlled plan, destroying what's left of the insurance market and leaving it all to bureaucrats.

The solution to ObamaCare is to get government out of healthcare as much as possible. But trying to piecemeal our way out of ObamaCare could make us worse off than ever.