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Feb 28
2010

Health insurance mandates: Everyone has them already

Posted by Stephen Taub in Riskinsurancehealthcarehealth insuranceBain

Stephen Taub

Let's face it. The health care debate has resulted in a frightening amount of mis-information and fear-mongering from both sides of the very wide political aisle.

And while I don't want to inject myself into the politics of the health care debate, I do want to put one key issue into perspective. Opponents of the latest proposal from President Obama-a.k.a. all Republicans--that would require all Americans to purchase health insurance if they don't currently have a policy argue that no one should ever be required to buy insurance, or do anything else, for that matter.

In fact, Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was all over the cable dial Thursday asserting "Insurance is not guaranteed in the constitution of the U.S."

Neither is Social Security, unemployment insurance, garbage pick-up or snow removal, to name other socialistic services.

However, the opponents of the insurance mandate have a few problems.

First of all, there is precedent for mandating the purchase of health care. It has been required in Massachusetts since 2006. And, you know who signed that socialistic measure into law? Mitt Romney, a Republican. Not just any Republican. A former contender for president that some pundits believe has an even better shot at getting his party's nomination in 2012.

He is also the Republican candidate who is deemed to be the most business savvy given his years at the private equity firm, Bain Capital.

What's more, most Americans-including all of those mandate bashers-already are required to buy insurance.

Afterall, you can't register a car or buy a new one in any state in the country until you can prove you have insurance. No one complains about this or is trying to rescind this law.

What's more, banks won't extend a mortgage to you unless you have a homeowner's insurance policy. They don't want to absorb the risk if you walk away from your mortgage after your house burns down.

 In fact, banks are so worried you may stop paying your insurance premium after the transaction closes, many of them insist that they--the banks--pay the insurance company. So, your monthly payment to the bank typically includes the mortgage payment, real estate taxes, and-yes-the insurance premium to assure it is paid.

So, let's debate the costs of overhauling the insurance business and whether there should be a government mandate, and whether it is morally right for people to go bankrupt because they are unable to purchase health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.

But, let's use correct facts and put them into proper perspective.

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