Authentic Healthcare Reform Requires Competition

Healthcare Competition

A close associate of mine got a 5% cost of living raise effective January 1. The trouble is it will not be enough to cover the hike in her medical premium – not near enough. The same story is repeating in multiple versions all over the country as the Obamacare disaster infects greater and greater multitudes. We have heard about the now six million Americans cancelled by their insurance companies because their policies no longer meet government standards – and the standard official line that these cancellations are good for their victims because they are forced to buy new policies that include pregnancy care for men and gender adjustment treatment for the 99.5% of Americans who do not want it. But this is only in the individually mandated market, where government is counting on massive purchases of unwanted insurance to pay for the treatments of those who need them.

Anticipating the delayed coming of the business mandates companies have cut back large swaths of their workers to part-time status so their employers will not be forced to buy all or part of their insurance. That means employees have less income to buy much more expensive insurance when government blithely tells them to just go to the exchanges – the ones that do not operate in the first place due to technical incompetence. And when government legislates that fewer hours will now constitute full-time, the employers simply cut hours further to get under the lowered bar.

What if we if insisted on authentic healthcare reform?

The first awakening would be to the reality that authenticity in an American context requires freedom. Even if we believed the inflated figure of thirty million Americans without health insurance – not healthcare, for free healthcare for the indigent and impoverished has been law on the books for decades – forcing the entire nation onto government-run exchanges to attempt to benefit less than 10% of us is madness. Yet Obamacare depends for its survival on forcing enough healthy people to pay for the sick that we remain solvent on their backs. A healthcare reform plan that reduces the freedom with which we have obtained healthcare in the past is not reform at all.

The second wake-up call would remind us we built the best healthcare system in history through healthy competition between competent professionals. In a free market economy incompetence is punished by failure and competence is rewarded with success. Competition is what keeps the game honest and a level playing field is the guarantor of competition. That would mean the insurance companies are not permitted to penalize people for the “sin” of having a pre-existing condition, as these things in no way harm the actuarial tables by which the companies live. It would mean companies would be denied their own protected market territory because policies would be portable from one job to another and across state lines. It would mean companies had to do business across state lines in order to stay in the game. And it would mean tort reform to reduce the crippling weight of malpractice insurance. Patients should be compensated fairly for a loss and doctors who repeatedly prove themselves incompetent or unethical should face permanent loss of their license. When government knows its sole responsibility is promoting competition it can stop tinkering with the system – from which nothing but unintended consequences ever comes.

The third heads-up would be to those who say critics offer no alternatives to Obamacare. That has always been hogwash. Congressman Tom Price, for one, offered a promising alternative at the same time Obamacare was first advanced. The Price Plan had all the advantages claimed by Obamacare – from competitive exchanges to eliminating penalties for pre-existing conditions – and none of the coercion. Unfortunately Price belonged to the party of no power (2009) in either house and his plan was never considered by the very leadership that condemned his party as “the party of No.” Is this problem too complex? To the only nation that has landed on the moon?

The Biblical Galatians declares Christ set us free for the sake of that freedom found only in Him. I bring this up only because it seems freedom has been the primary object of the abundant life He brings from the beginning. It is difficult to imagine a good gift that summarily cancels the best gift we’ve ever been given. This might be a good time to pray our way back to the drawing board – democratically and legally displacing those blocking our path – and act on the fruit of that prayer. I bring this up only because it seems not to have been tried.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at

Photo Credit:  Standard Compliant

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