Most of the ongoing halftime “analysis” by the journalists is beside the point. The private health insurance sector is about to be destroyed — apparently with the acquiesence of those pro-market, pro-free enterprise, pro-capitalism Republicans — with regulations mandating that pre-existing conditions not be used to deny coverage, that insurance premiums not reflect risks, and on and on. Everyone inside the Beltway — please tell me that I am wrong — seems to agree on these measures, at least in principle. But if everyone is entitled to coverage at “affordable” prices regardless of health status, then there has to be an individual mandate — a requirement that every individual have insurance — with teeth. (If there is not, then the relatively healthy will drop out of the system, premiums will have to rise to pay for the unhealthy, more will drop out, etc.) And if there is a mandate, government must decide what coverage qualifies; accordingly, there would have to be subsidies for those with low or moderate incomes. That means tax increases, government cost controls, rationing and all the rest. Ad nauseam.
— Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.
This blog post originally appeared on National Review’s Critical Condition.