October 2, 2012 by Anders Ingemarson
In the debate over the future of healthcare in America, the issue of preexisting conditions seems to act as Kryptonite on many free market bent individuals. When the statists shout “Do you want to deny healthcare to people with preexisting conditions?” these supposed free marketeers often lose all their strength and turn into babbling invertebrates. The country is littered with politicians from this group supporting preexisting conditions legislation both at the federal and state levels when they should know better.
Why is this? Why is it so hard to stand up to the accusation and answer “You’re darn right, I will not sacrifice the rights of health insurance companies to offer whatever policies they think are good for business because you think someone with a preexisting condition deserves coverage!” After all, individual rights apply equally to someone with a preexisting condition and someone working for or owning a piece of a health insurance company.
We have to go to ethics to find the answer, to the moral code most individuals unfortunately subscribe to, implicitly or explicitly. That moral code is of course Altruism, the notion that my need is your obligation; that robbing health insurance company coworker Peter is justified to pay preexisting condition inflicted Paul. If we want to achieve a truly free healthcare market that respects the individual rights of all participants, we have to reject this notion.
How would people with preexisting conditions fare in a laissez-faire capitalist market? The short answer is “better than ever”. Here’s a sample of reasons why:
- Parents-to-be would be offered an array of “pregnancy” insurance options covering rare but financially devastating medical conditions. If you were unfortunate to be born with one of these rare conditions, your medical needs would most likely be covered for life.
- A multitude of catastrophic health insurance options would cover post-birth diseases currently classified as pre-existing conditions. And not unlike life-insurance, the earlier you get coverage, the cheaper it is. A perfect birth gift from proud grand-parents!
- Insurance companies would work closely with the scientific community to find cures to all kinds of rare diseases. After all, cures reduce insurance payouts which translate into higher profits and the ability to compete with lower premiums. There’s no better incentive than the profit motive! I suspect we would see hitherto unimagined new medical discoveries eradicating debilitating diseases and increasing life expectancy.
To get from here to there while minimizing the financial impact on people with current preexisting conditions will obviously require a plan. But once we reject the moral idea that someone’s preexisting condition is a claim check on his neighbor, and accept the political idea of total separation of state and healthcare, plenty of smart people will figure that out in a heartbeat. And the Kryptonite will have lost all its power.