Opinion

Here’s why mandating healthcare coverage for preexisting conditions is wrong

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Despite overall discontent with President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, some of the provisions in it remain popular. One of the most popular provisions in the ACA is one that keeps insurance companies from discriminating against customers because of “preexisting conditions”.

The logic is that people with debilitating conditions cannot get coverage at reasonable prices unless Congress mandates this statute into place, effectively making insurance companies pay no matter what.

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Many individuals are indeed born with or later get preexisting health conditions.  Likely because nearly everyone knows of someone in their friend or family circles with a preexisting condition the provision has stayed quite popular.

It becomes difficult to argue with someone who uses the emotional appeal of a person who has a major health issue but is uninsured.  By tugging at our emotions but ignoring how to address the issue fairly and adequately it usually just perplexes both parties as to how someone can think like they do.  Indeed the unfairness of preexisting conditions is similar to the supposed unfairness of the world.

So an important philosophical question emerges for us all.  It’s answer stands to guide decades of current and future political policy surrounding the issue:

Is it beneficial to punish one segment of society to benefit a smaller unfortunate group?

A question of such brevity requires some soul searching and a deeper explanation.  If we decide it is okay to financially punish all innocent tax payers,  then we quickly run the risk of having the entire healthcare system funded through direct taxpayer transactions.  In essence the free market would have no control over cost as every service is mandated by the federal government and payed for by the healthier (for reasons of luck or personal choices) tax payers.

It is an unfortunate but useful truth in economics that there are “no free lunches”.

Goods and services have to come from production somewhere.  The same holds true in healthcare, forcing insurance companies to cover costs of preexisting conditions has to result in higher costs for all healthy Obamacare enrollees who do no frequent the hospital.

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Free markets avoid this moral hazard in a useful way that can still benefit all people.  People are charged slightly more or less depending on what “pool” they fall into.  A diabetic who smokes will pay more than a healthy non smoker.  These charges aren’t inherently unfair.  We all seem to realize poor drivers should and do pay more for auto insurance.

Commonplace advancements in billing that lean towards efficiency and convenience would be a welcome improvement to the failed government roll out of healthcare.gov which saw participants unable to access the website.

I sincerely apologize if you are reading this and have a preexisting condition.  It is unfortunate that life is seemingly unfair to all of us at one point or at seemingly different degrees.

However, I believe in the information revealed in the free market, and healthcare is no different.  Unless you can convince me that your condition is the fault of the tax payers and not the mystery of our “unfair” world, you have no moral right to financially punish all taxpayers.

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