Monday, March 08, 2010

Preexisting conditions

I'm sorry if this is a boring topic for some who may read this blog, but I feel the need to put this point down on the record. Last fall when President Obama gave his speech to a joint meeting of the Senate and House, I witnessed one of the more disturbing scenes of the current attempts at "reforming" our healthcare system. It was the sights and sounds of politicians applauding the "no health insurance company should be allowed to deny coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions" portion of the President's speech. This moment was particularly disturbing because members from both sides of the political aisle were applauding. Let us consider this statement for a few moments. Just a few, I promise.....:)

Imagine using this logic in regards to any other insurance category such as homeowners or automobile insurance, or my personal favorite is life insurance. Why do health insurance companies reserve the right to deny coverage for preexisting conditions? Isn't it because the concept of insurance is for the insured to pay a small amount in the EVENTUALITY that something big and bad plays out? It is statistically calculated to be worth the risk of the insurance company to pay out in the few cases that the "big bad" happens and accepts the cash of everyone whom it does not happen to as its actual profit. If you force an entire industry to base its business model on the idea that they MUST allow people to be insured regardless of preexisting conditions the auto insurance premiums would go sky high because everyone would supplement the risk of the reckless drivers, homeowners premiums would rocket upwards as we all absorbed the risk of fraud and those who build and/or live in high risk areas, and I suppose we'd all be unable to even get any life insurance because death is the ultimate potential preexisting condition. I know, I know that is silly. However, this is exactly the rationale behind the belief that pushing for a law mandating health insurance for those with preexisting conditions will somehow create a better healthcare system. It will simply either cause existing health insurance companies to raise their premiums to offset the risk that has been forced upon them, or it will simply cause them to go out of this kind of business altogether.

A great example of this is the heavy handed regulations that currently force insurance companies in various states to include specific coverages in ALL of their policies. This was intended to be a consumer protection, but it has actually caused the most basic insurance policies to be more expensive. Guess who gets hurt by this. Yep, the poor downtrodden souls that the governmental do-gooders had supposedly intended to help. They can't afford the new, improved policies at even their most basic rates because they're now too expensive.

The one preexisiting condition noone seems to want to address is the growing involvement of heavy handed regulation in the formation and escalation of our nation's current many faceted economic woes. Did someone say free market?? Look again.