Monday, September 10, 2012
Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he wants to repeal Obamacare - the Affordable Care Act - but that there are portions of it he likes, including covering pre-existing conditions and children.
Actually, I believe that insurance companies should offer coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. I don't believe they should be forced to, but it would be to their advantage to do so.
But (yes, the infamous 'but') - they should not be forced to accept individuals with pre-existing conditions at the same rate as other customers without such conditions.
Life insurance for a healthy person is cheaper than for someone who has heart disease and a history of heart attacks. Why shouldn't health insurance work the same way?
Why shouldn't individuals with pre-existing conditions pay more for their health insurance, especially if they wait until after they are sick to obtain it?
If the government doesn't insist that individuals are absolved from the potential negative consequences of their actions, they might just be inclined to take the appropriate action ahead of time.
If you know you can get away with being irresponsible, you're more likely to be irresponsible. That's human nature. Just like children as they are growing up, you tell them repeatedly that touching a hot stove will hurt, but they keep trying until they succeed and learn, because it hurts, that it was the wrong thing to do.
So I agree with Romney that individuals with pre-existing conditions should have access to health care, but I believe that such 'access' should come at a higher cost.
And should 'children' be able to be covered? Sure. But then, I define 'chidren' as descendants (legal or biological) under the age of 18 or over 18 and still attending school.
I would even go so far as to say that insurance companies would find an abundance of clients if they allowed relatives living in the same household to be covered under an insurance plan. They do this with car insurance - why not with health insurance?
Of course, this would work best if health insurance were purchased like car insurance and not just through your employer - with individuals receiving the same tax advantages as employers currently do.
Car insurance rates are affordable and there are plenty of policy options and coverage levels to fit every need. If health insurance were reformed to mirror the structure of car insurance, wouldn't that be a huge improvement?
These are good ideas, but the devil is in the details. Will government mandate such things, or open up the market so such structures can develop?
There's the rub...