Tuesday, July 17, 2012

If You Don't Want People to Be Forced to Buy Health Insurance...

Jonathan Rauch makes a solid point here.  From the Atlantic.

Here is a health-care reform that is notable for never being proposed by the people who ought to be for it, namely conservatives: repeal the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, the 1986 law that requires hospitals to treat urgent-care patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Conservatives say the government cannot and should not require people to buy health insurance. The trouble is that the government can and does require hospitals to treat people who don’t have health insurance and who can’t pay. The result is a free-rider problem that runs to tens of billions of dollars a year and, worse, destabilizes the whole system.

According to conservatives, the government should not make people buy insurance; it certainly should not provide coverage for them. That would seem to eliminate the two main ways to deal with free riders. One obvious possibility remains. If you can’t pay for medical treatment, you can’t expect to receive it. Period. 

Yep.  That's why we need single payer, folks.  We are not willing to turn dying people away (and that's right, we shouldn't do that).  But if you require "free" treatment, why not require insurance?  And single payer is a better way of doing that than some hodge-podge of implicit taxes on employment by having insurance benefits tied to jobs.

But, Rauch asks the right question, for those who disagree with him (and me):  Would you repeal the EMT-ALA?  Would you?

1 comment:

  1. Would you repeal the EMT-ALA? Would you?


    We are not willing to turn dying people away (and that's right, we shouldn't do that).

    I'm not willing to turn away the dying. I'm just not willing to force you to pay for it so that I can feel better about giving to charity.


Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?