Friday, August 6, 2010

Losing Choices Isn't Losing Liberty?

Oops! Headline missing a key word.

At the height of the health care debate, an old colleague of mine and me were discussing the issue. I asserted that there would economic consequences to gov't undercutting private insurers and forcing them to take on high-risk clients. I argued that this would force small-to-medium insurers out of business, thus shrinking the insurance provider market place, resulting in fewer choices, eventually forcing people to go with the least expensive option—Obamacare. This, I said, is a loss of liberties.

I was dumbfounded by his reply and didn't know how to answer:

I'm also not quite sure how fewer choices equals losing liberty. Choice is not the same thing as liberty. If Skippy goes out of business and I can only choose between Jiff and Safeway brand, have I lost liberty?

Now I do. Mostly because I don't know want to reach through the screen and punch him in the face for being so patently smarmy and ignorant.

First, I'm glad he inadvertently acknowledged that insurance is a private commodity, which has been one of my arguments: the federal government cannot fine or tax you for not buying a private commodity, which health insurance is and ObamaCare does fine/tax. It is a clear violation of the 10th Amendment. Obamacare tries to sneak around that by allowing insurers to compete across state lines, which is good, but there's a big problem:

His example is flawed, however, because he failed to acknowledge that the State is one of competitors—and one that is arbitrarily and artificially setting and capping the market price for insurance. This will drive many insurers out of business, thus resulting in fewer choices, not because a product or service naturally failed in the marketplace.

Eventually, as large insurers will be forced to take on greater and deeper risk pools, they will be forced to drive up prices just to remain solvent. Then, instead of people making insurers compete for business, one will be forced to go with ObamaCare because it's the most affordable. (Wouldn't you go with the lower price too if you weren't wealthy? I would.)

What happens? Only the wealthy and elite will be able to afford private insurance, with millions of Americans forced to pay for the only one available: ObamaCare.

Being forced by the government to take a government service? If that ain't a loss of liberty, brother, than I don't know what is.

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