April 18 2011

Arizona Legislature Leads with Free-Market Health Reform

Hadley Heath

Regardless of how they feel about ObamaCare, most people would admit that the decision to buy health insurance is not just a decision about health care - it's also a decision about money.  If the goal is to insure more Americans, then we should focus on making health insurance more affordable.

To do this, we can go one of two routes.  We can use the government to set prices by closely monitoring insurers and dictating reimbursement rates to doctors for their services.  Or we can encourage robust competition in the marketplace, which would lead insurers to offer a variety of policies at the best possible prices.

In Arizona, it seems the state is taking a step in the right direction. 

From SavingOurHealthCare.org:

The Arizona legislature has taken a bold move in the right direction by passing S.B.1593 - a bill that would allow Arizonians to purchase health insurance across state lines.

The bill is now going to Gov. Jan Brewer's desk, and she has until April 28 to sign it or veto it.

S.B.1593 would give citizens of Arizona their choice of policies from across all 50 states.

Rather than eliminating state mandates, this bill simply gives Arizona families and businesses more choices to be able to purchase the policy they believe is best for them, whether it be an Arizona policy (the state has 33 mandates about health coverage) or a policy from Idaho (14 mandates) or Rhode Island (69 mandates).

This huge expansion of the health insurance marketplace would give Arizonians an advantage over other more limiting states. Competition to insure families and businesses in the state would be fierce, as the sellers in the market would increase 50-fold.

Imagine if all 50 states passed a similar law.  Americans from every state would have more choices!

But choice and product variety aren't the only good things about a freer market: Competition would lower prices, and with more affordable coverage available, more Americans would make the decision to buy health insurance.  Wasn't that one of the goals of health care reform?

ObamaCare addresses this goal by taking "decision" out of the equation altogether, forcing us to buy insurance - and to face higher costs and potentially damaged quality of care. 

We should reverse course now.

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