When someone else pays for something we get to keep, we usually don’t care about the price, especially if our benefactor keeps paying for it. People on food stamps generally are not cost conscious because they know that each month, they’ll get a new batch of food stamps. There was a time that people paid for health insurance out of their own pocket. Health insurance was not paid by employers, and the government didn’t impose mandates that required that every medical procedure be covered. You paid for the coverage you wanted. This made people price conscious.
In 1942, everything changed. The government got involved by implementing the Stabilization Act. The Act was an attempt to stabilize prices, wages, and salaries through law, even though the government was the one affecting the rice in prices, wages, and salaries. This meant that an employer could not lure a worker from another job or entice him to move to a new location by giving him an increase in salary. Employers — because they are innovators and cost conscious — found legal ways to get around the new regulations.
One consequence of the wage stabilization under the Act was that employers, unable to provide higher salaries to attract or retain employees, began to offer insurance plans, including health care packages, as a fringe benefit, thereby beginning the practice of employer-sponsored health insurance.
Now that employers began to pay for healthcare, employees no longer needed to worry about a rise in healthcare costs. Competition and frugality were taken out of the equation.
Soon healthcare became a “right” that all employers must provide. With a “right,” the government stepped in and mandated that everything from abortion to birth control be covered.
Consider mandates to pay for birth control, pregnancies, and abortions. These costs are spread across every healthcare policy, even if women are not of childbearing age or decide not to have children. Every policy is marked up to absorb these costs. Prior to government-mandated healthcare coverage, families paid for the delivery of their children.
My mother is 1 of 12 children. They were all born at home. There was no insurance. Her parents were poor. They paid the doctor in cash.
What would bring down the cost of insurance and medical costs? Here are a couple of solutions.
- Employees should pay for their insurance directly. Employers could increase an employee’s salary by half of what they are paying in insurance costs.
- People shopping for healthcare with their own money would bring costs down. Look what it’s done for Term Life Insurance.
- Any money spent on insurance would be tax free.
- Eliminate all government mandates on what should be covered.
- Health insurance should be sold a la carte.
- Doctors who give free medical care to people who cannot pay should be able to deduct their costs.
- It would be OK with me if doctors who gave free or discounted healthcare never paid taxes.
All of these solutions would take healthcare out of the hands of government. Votes could no longer be bought with other people’s money.