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March 2018



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Comparing Health Insurance to Cars

I was listening to talk radio last night. *sigh*

A caller was complaining that we need to be free to buy any insurance policy we want. He compared government mandates on what an insurance policy should include to the government choosing the color and model of your car.

I thought about that. The Affordable Care Act is like a lemon law. My state has laws saying that any vehicle that is sold as a vehicle has to meet minimum requirements. It has to be drivable and safe. You can buy a car that doesn't work, but you can't buy it as a car, you have to buy it as junk.

These people who are getting notices that their insurance doesn't meet minimum standards are all upset that "Obama is taking away their choice". They should be upset that their insurance company has been taking their money for a junk policy that wouldn't cover their needs if they got sick. You can still spend your money on junk policies if you want, you just can't buy them as your primary health insurance. The same way you can't buy an empty car body as a road worthy vehicle.

That isn't about choice. That is about protecting consumers from fraud.

Now, I do understand that making everyone have health insurance does take away a choice. You no longer have the choice to be irresponsible. That is similar to the government regulations on car emissions and brakes.

Sometimes our actions affect other people. When that happens the other people have a stake in what we do. If your brakes don't work you might kill innocent bystanders. So, people who don't want you to hit them with your car have a right to require you to have good brakes.

If you don't have insurance and you get hit by a meteorite and can't pay your hospital bills the hospital has to raise their prices on everyone else to cover your care. Or if you get SARS or TB and walk around coughing on people because you can't afford a doctor's visit or take a day off from you minimum wage job. That isn't fair to the people around you.

By requiring everyone who can pay for insurance to do so we make sure that when you are young and healthy you pay into the system that you are probably going to be drawing out from when you get old and sick. It would be better if we were all paying into a non-profit community chest dedicated to that purpose, instead of paying for-profit insurance companies so their stock holders can skim some off the top, but this was a Republican plan and they won't do anything unless their friends can get a kickback.


Look. I have no kids. I never will have kids. As such, the hardpoints built into the rear seat of my new car to attach a child seat is a useless safety feature for me that only adds to the cost of my car. I'm never gonna use it, I don't want it, and I don't want to pay for it.

But intrusive government regulations require every new car has those hard points, regardless of whether the owner of the car will ever use them.

This is not about "lemons". I fully support lemon laws and safety regulations. Air bags, seat belts, crumple-zones, and so forth I hope to never use, but in an emergency they may save my life. I'm glad I don't have to worry about new cars not having those. But child seat hard points will never save my life or keep anyone in my car from harm. They aren't generally applicable. I used to be able to buy cars without them, but now I'm being forced to buy them, even though to me, they are worthless.