20 April 2011
Let my people go!
That’s what Moses said to Pharaoh. And that’s what Senate Bill 1593 says to the government-created cartel that currently dominates health insurance in Arizona. During the next few days (during Passover, as it turns out) Gov. Jan Brewer faces the decision of whether to sign SB 1593.
Brewer’s decision is whether to give Arizona health insurance consumers the freedom to shop for regulated health insurance plans offered in other States–including plans that are cheaper and more suited to the needs of individual consumers–or continue to hold Arizonans captive to Arizona’s government-created insurance cartel. Because of high premiums under the cartel, many Arizonans choose to go without health insurance. That puts Arizona families at great financial risk, raises the number of uninsured, and causes many citizens to be attracted to the false promises of universal coverage proclaimed by ObamaCare.
Signing SB 1593 would seem like a no-brainer for a governor of conservative principles such as Gov. Brewer. But Gov. Brewer is currently being inundated by calls and emails from members of specific disease lobbies, asking her to veto SB 1593. (Below is an explanation of why the disease lobbies are wrong to oppose SB 1593.)
Please call and email Governor Brewer today and ask her to sign SB 1593 and promote health care freedom. Tell her to “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”
To send Gov. Brewer an email, use her web contact page:
The phone numbers for Gov. Brewer’s office are (602) 542-1361 and (602) 542-4331
(If you have difficulties getting through, let us know via email and we can send you contact info for various members of the Governor’s staff.)
For a one-page flyer in pdf that you can print and take to your neighbors/precinct members, go to this URL:
Arizona Health Insurance Mandates
Arizona insurance plans are loaded up with expensive legislative mandates for special coverage and special treatment of specific diseases. For example, even if you are physically unable to have children, you are required by Arizona statute to pay a higher premium for expensive autism treatments above and beyond industry standards.
As a result of those mandates, premiums for most Arizona insurance shoppers are more expensive than they would be otherwise, and many Arizonans therefore choose to go without health insurance. But by doing so, those would-be insurance consumers risk personal financial ruin, and they place burdens on taxpayers when they use government-subsidized health services.
Under SB 1593, Arizona health insurance consumers would be free to choose regulated health plans produced in other States, including plans that have fewer legislative mandates included (and would therefore likely be cheaper). On the other hand, Arizona health insurance consumers under SB 1593 could choose to buy plans from States that have even heavier mandates than Arizona—or plans that have a different set of mandates that work better in meeting their individual needs.
Finally, SB 1593 would help to put individual insurance purchasers and small businesses in Arizona on a level playing field with large interstate corporations and organizations (such as many labor unions), which are presently free to do interstate shopping for health plans, thanks to the federal ERISA legislation.
Social Justice and Fairness Concerns
As she considers whether to sign SB 1593, Gov. Brewer is hearing some very earnest and emotional testimonies from persons who have been affected by certain diseases. Those individuals believe that they benefit from some of the special coverage and special treatment mandates currently legislated by Arizona, and believe that interstate competition would somehow weaken the impact of their favored mandates.
The first point to understand is that Arizona’s mandates are special coverage and treatment mandates—above and beyond industry standards. Regardless of what happens with SB 1593, cancer treatment will still be covered under Arizona insurance plans. (If it were not, none of us would bother to purchase insurance! What would be the point of buying insurance?) And under SB 1593, Arizonans would now be free to purchase plans in other States that have even more extensive diagnostic and treatment coverage than is currently available under Arizona mandates.
Second, we need to put Arizona’s mandates in perspective. The diseases subject to Arizona’s special mandates are terrible diseases. But the reality is that Arizona’s legislative mandates are primarily the result of politics and lobbying, not logic or compassion. Arizona’s politicians have chosen to use mandates in the individual insurance market to socialize the risk and cost of only some treatments of some health risks related to some diseases. They have come nowhere close to mandating special coverage or special treatments for all of the thousands of awful diseases that attack us and our families.
Why doesn’t Arizona mandate special coverage and special treatments beyond industry standards for each and every one of the thousands of diseases that are not currently subject to mandates? And why don’t we force all Arizona insurance consumers to share (via their premiums) in the cost for implementing the mandates for all of those diseases? Wouldn’t that be the socially just and fair way to regulate the health insurance system?
The reason we don’t pass special coverage and treatment mandates for all of the disease risks facing Arizonans is that the resulting cost of premiums could literally be infinite. By adding more and more special mandates, we would quickly make insurance unaffordable for anyone. (And if any government tried to cover everyone for special coverage and treatment, it would quickly go bankrupt–which is why socialist health systems inevitably end up rationing medical care.) The reality is that Arizona has legislated only those mandates desired by groups with sufficiently strong political lobbying clout, and Arizona has not legislated special coverage or treatment mandates for all of the other diseases–the ones without sufficient lobbying clout.
By promoting interstate competition, SB 1593 will give more Arizonans access to wider risk pools (including disease-specific risk pools). In some cases, members of Arizona’s current disease lobbies may actually see lower premiums, better coverage, and access to better treatments. That conclusion would certainly seem to follow from the historical experience of several centuries of expanding worldwide commerce, in which the reduction of protectionist barriers and other obstacles to trade has allowed consumers to gain access to more products, including very specialized products, at much lower real prices.
And with the lower basic premiums that will result from interstate competition for basic policies, SB 1593 will allow Arizona consumers to afford innovative insurance products such as health status insurance. For the cost of a relatively small rider, parents could use health status insurance to pay for the higher premiums that would result in the event that their children (or future children) develop a hard-to-insure condition. You can read more about health status insurance here: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9986
For more information about SB 1593, go to this URL:
THANK YOU for taking action to promote health care and freedom!
(And a blessed Passover and Holy Week to all!)
For Liberty, Tom
Americans for Prosperity