But It’s the Wrong Problem

Ron Williams, a former Chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc, in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, described his evolution toward opposition of Obamacare’s Individual Mandate, which he had supported initially.  He then offered a couple of alternatives to the Individual Mandate; however his alternative solutions are as erroneous as the Individual Mandate is an overreach of Federal government power.  The reason for his error is that he’s pursuing the wrong problem.

Williams says

As a society, we have a moral obligation to ensure everyone has access to affordable health care.  We must find a way to cover those who are no longer healthy but need care.

No.  There is a difference between health care and health insurance; the two are conflated far too often—sometimes cynically and deliberately, sometimes out of genuine ignorance, and sometimes just out of careless thought.  People who are no longer healthy do not need health insurance; they need health care.  We must find a way to help them to get that care.  Moreover, this social obligation is not at all a government obligation, or even a legitimate government task.  Society is not our government—it is us.

When government butts out of our affairs, when it leaves our money in our hands, it becomes a lot easier for us as individuals to see to our obligations ourselves, and in our own way.  Then we can do more of what we need to do—directly, or through our local communities, or through our churches and private charities, or some combination of these.  Government legitimately comes into play only as a last resort, not the first resort—or only resort, as some would have it—and the Federal government must be last among these.  New York’s tax funds, to the extent they’re involved at all, should go first to New York’s poor, not first into a general national pile from which, for instance, Illinois or California might draw ad lib.

On top of that, competitively sold health insurances policies, sold nationwide rather than within 50 different state jurisdictions, would be a powerful market solution that would potentiate our ability as a society to act on this imperative.

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