Health insurance is not a right. Employers offer insurance both for tax benefits and to be competitive in the marketplace (since most everybody else offers it—see the vicious cycle?). Until the Obamacare employer mandate, they weren’t required by law to provide coverage (or at least they weren’t fined for NOT providing it); rather, they offered it in response to skewed market incentives (thanks, Uncle Sam).
Since insurance is not a right, this means that an employer who offers a health insurance plan to its employees should be able to offer whatever level of coverage it wants. This just makes sense on principle. And the reasons shouldn’t matter, since it would be a freely offered and freely accepted benefit. Some reasons might be religious or ethical: Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to pay for abortifacients, and reasonably so. Other reasons may be practical: a company that hires octegenarians might not want to pay for useless and expensive maternity coverage. An outdoorsman’s club that hires men exclusively might not want to cover OBGYN exams. Nobody is forced to work anywhere, and nobody is forced into an insurance plan. Except now. A single word sums up Obamacare: coercion.
Once the government decides that there are minimum levels of coverage that EVERY policy is required to meet, those levels have to be defined (hello there, unelected HHS bureaucrats!), and all of a sudden the narrative changes and we think we have a right to those coverage levels. (And we do have a right now, technically, from a legal perspective, thanks to Obamacare. But it’s a terrible idea, one that has already wreaked havoc on the system, and much of the ACA isn’t even in effect yet. Not to mention that the implementation continues to suck.)
So now the left is pissed that Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to cover 4 (out of 16) contraceptives in their insurance plan, but this only makes sense after the HHS mandated them as being required.
Does anybody remember that it was only a few years ago that most insurance plans didn’t even cover contraception? I mean, this is a relatively recent development. But everyone is up in arms about it now, after the Demcorats forced Obamacare down our throats and started creating new “rights” out of thin air.
Look, if we untangled insurance from the market-skewing incentives created by government meddling, and repealed Obamacare, and implemented some other basic reforms in the right direction (Obamacare reformed in the WRONG direction), a number of things would happen:
1) You would get paid more. Your salary would be the only way an employer compensates you (if they aren’t offering insurance coverage), and most likely all of your salary would come via your paycheck. That means YOU get more control over your money. It also means your employer wouldn’t have to spend all the overhead involved with shopping for and administering insurance plans.
2) You would get a much broader range of plan options that the 4-size-fits-all straightjacket crap options that Obamacare mandates. Plus, it would be cheaper, especially if insurers are allowed to sell across state lines. Maybe my wife and I decide we’re done having kids and we could save a bundle by not packaging maternity coverage into our plan. Maybe I’ve never smoked and never will smoke, let alone need coverage for nicotine addiction products. Insurers should have the right to offer the mix-and-match approach, and I should have the right to purchase a plan in that model.
3) The (bogus) controversy about your boss being in your bedroom would go away. When you shop for and buy your own plan, picking a choosing the coverage levels you want or need, the employer stays out of it. Surely that will stop the left from shrieking about being allowed to kill their babies in peace, right? No? Well, at least they won’t be able to demand that their employers pay for it.
4) You can quit your job (easier). Many people join or leave companies because of the awesome or terrible benefits. When you leave a job with great insurance, that coverage is gone since it was provided by your ex-employer.
De-coupling insurance from employment and implementing a free market approach would diffuse most, if not all, of the moral and political controversy about insurance coverage in the US. It would also reduce cost, increase choice (see, I can be pro-choice), and increase job mobility opportunities.
Here are a couple good reads from the last few days.
Hobby Lobby, Contraception, And The Primitivism Of Politics
The Illogic of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
In his press conference about Benghazi,Trey Gowdy turned the questions around to the media. ”Do you know why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi?” ”Do you know why we were the last flag flying in Benghazi after the British had left and the Red Cross had been bombed?”
Crickets from the reporters.
I don’t know this guy, but I like the questions he’s asking.
Nicely done, Trey Gowdy. (I’ve never heard of him, either.)
Do I think there was a conspiracy in the Administration prior to the attack: I doubt it. Do I think the Administration’s actions after the attack were cowardly and blatantly political maneuvers with all eyes on the upcoming election? Absolutely.
Cynical and cowardly acts by politicians are nothing new. But wasn’t the Obamesssiah supposed to change all that? How’s that hopey changey thing workin’ out for ya, libs?
Edward Snowden thinks of himself as a cyber-age guerrilla warrior, but in reality he is a self-publicizing narcissist. He did not find or expose anything illegal, nor did he exhaust all legal and constitutional options to express his reservations about the intelligence and security services. He did not attempt to limit any potential damage in making his point. He did not show that any agency activities were unreasonable in law. Let us not imbue his cowardice with higher motives. Let us not confuse his egotism with public service. Let’s not call his treachery by lesser terms. Let us be clear about the intent and impact of his actions. Let us be clear to the American people and their allies about the threats they now face from enemies inside and out, terrorist and criminal. For once, let’s say what we mean. Let us call treason by its name.—
This editorial is Exhibit A of a circle-the-wagons, defend the establishment, assuming-what-you’re-trying-to-prove argument in defense of a government so drunk on power it can’t distinguish between terrorists and the very citizens its tasked with protecting. The threats to our liberties imposed by our own government are far more imminent than any existential terrorist threat out there.
We need true conservatives (and true classical liberals) who are willing to reduce the size, scope, power, and authority of government in our lives. The biggest problem with our government isn’t that they have spied on us; it’s that they are even capable of it to begin with.