Thursday, June 25, 2009

Preexisting conditions

I find it almost unbelievable that both the Democrat's bill and the Republican counter offer specify that private plans (and the government plan) should not be allowed to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. I know several people who either have or have children with very expensive pre-existing conditions, so I feel for the fact that you can't get private insurance if you have cancer. But, I don't see how you can possibly end up with a decent health insurance system if you allow people to get into the program after they're already sick.

Imagine a system where you couldn't exempt "pre-existing conditions" from home owners insurance. You would be crazy to buy insurance before your house burned to the ground, because you would have to pay to rebuild the houses of the smart people who bought their coverage when their house was a smoldering ruin. I actually suspect, based on the breakdowns that I have seen, that a fair portion of the Democrat's 50 million uninsured are currently making the gamble that if they get to the point where they need insurance they can just depend on the fact that corporate policies and Medicare can't look at preexisting conditions and get it when they get sick.

Ultimately I would like to see health insurance work something like home owners insurance does now. You can select your coverage ahead of time and choose what is covered and if you suffer something that's covered then it will get paid for. If you choose not to insure against loss then you pay dearly. I'm not claiming that the government should let people die (though, as I note in my previous post, at some point they have to), but you should bear a great deal of the burden for your choices. That's how markets pressure people to make good decisions.

I understand that it's very, very difficult to get from where we are now to a system where you can get real catastrophic coverage without severely harming people who came down with a disease while depending on their current corporate policy, but nobody seems to want to even try.

No comments: