December 23, 2003

More "under the radar" stuff�"Teddy's Nightmare"

More on Medical Health Savings Accounts. (I used the wrong terminology.) A friend sent this WSJ article, Teddy's Nightmare. It's a sugarplum for subscribers only, but I'll quote some of it.

...When Medical Savings Accounts were originally created in 1996, liberals led by Ted Kennedy did their best to kill them in the crib. Severe restrictions were placed on who could own them, as well as on the number of policies that could be sold, and authorization was set to expire this year. Not surprisingly, insurers did not rush into the market.

But now those restrictions are gone, the Treasury Department announced rules for new HSA policies yesterday, and private insurers are already jumping into the market. A glimpse of their market potential is provided by South Africa, of all places. After the Mandela government deregulated South Africa's private insurance market in 1994, HSA-type plans quickly captured about two-thirds of it.

That's precisely the kind of success that Senator Kennedy and friends fear could happen here. Democrats know that a reinvigorated private health insurance market will end their dream of a Canadian-style health system. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has already introduced a bill to "correct" the Medicare legislation, with HSA repeal a top priority....

Ain't gonna happen. The days when Teddy and Tom could crush all hopes and dreams of reform are just about over. Their days of keeping people poor, and uninsured, and uneducated, in order to "justify" big government programs are fading fast. Gee, if we can bypass those two horrid old dinosaurs, we may catch up with South Africa...
...Another beneficial effect of HSAs is that they will wake consumers up to the needless state mandates that price so many people out of insurance. Individual and small-group purchasers in New York, in fact, may well discover that they can't even buy a high deductible policy because of that state's mandates.

The easiest way to solve this problem would be for Congress to exercise its Constitutional power to free up interstate commerce in insurance. If New York politicians want to regulate insurers until they flee the state, fine. But they shouldn't be able to tell New York residents that they can't buy an HSA from, say, Connecticut, which has many fewer mandates....

Waking people up. That's the whole idea. Give ordinary people IRA's and 401-K's, and those who aren't totally brain-dead start to be more skeptical when "evil corporations" are denounced for "obscene profits."

Soon lot of our medical problems are going to be dealt with without any bureaucrats involved. That's going to be a wake-up. Plus, the Bush Administration is working hard at giving parents with kids at sub-standard public schools the right to chose other schools. That should turn on some light-bulbs. And soon, soon, Social Security.

Posted by John Weidner at December 23, 2003 5:07 PM
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