Writing for the Future of Freedom Foundation, Sheldon Richman toes the same line of false options that the anti-Universal Health Care crowd always cite. He says of Obama’s public health plan, “ He wants a ‘public option.’ That’s a euphemism for a government-run health-insurance program that is to provide a competitive alternative to private, for-profit insurance. This rationale is misleading because there is already competition among insurers — and there would be far more if state governments did not restrict intrastate competition and prevent interstate competition. For example, a resident in Minnesota, whose insurance policy is burdened with dozens of state-mandated provisions for coverage he may not want (for instance, alcoholism/drug rehab and breast reconstruction), may not legally buy a policy offered in Idaho, which has far fewer mandates.”
What Richman is describing is a race to the bottom in benefits. The insurance companies will follow the same path as the off-shore profit seekers, they want the cheapest place to operate and in the example Richman gives, that would be the state with the fewest mandated services. In short, the state that mandates the least health care will become the favorite home state of the insurers.
The competition among insurers is not a cost deterrent, it is just a cost.
To understand how the government program would cost less, we need only consider the expenses the government will not have: No sales force. No sales people to pay, no trucks idling at the curb while folks sit at tables trying to catch customers for their health care dollars. No advertising, no little gifts to give away. They wouldn’t have the sales support staff. No secretaries, no regional and area managers. They wouldn’t have to pay chief executives exorbitant salaries. Wouldn’t have to pay for their support staff, limousines, lunches or first class air tickets. None of those expenses would exist. Wouldn’t have to pay for car service at night, no vice presidents in charge of marketing, the art and design departments, and all other departments, will not need to be duplicated.
The list of expenses that would disappear or would no longer need to be duplicated is astonishing and virtually endless. The fact that they are never spoken about is amazing. Perhaps it’s because one person’s expense is another’s job. And that’s what will keep this health albatross around our collective necks.