THE INSURANCE industry proposal to force all Americans to purchase health insurance would be as wrong as Detroit automakers asking Congress to force all Americans to purchase a new GM or Ford car every year. Americans have the right to purchase (or not purchase) insurance in a free market, based on a rational assessment of their needs. When health insurance is mandatory, the state must necessarily define what constitutes "acceptable" insurance, meaning that individuals must purchase insurance on terms set by lobbyists and bureaucrats.
Instead of mandatory health insurance, America needs free-market reforms, such as allowing patients to purchase insurance across state lines and to use health savings accounts for routine expenses, and allowing insurers to sell inexpensive, catastrophic-only policies to cover rare but expensive events. Such reforms could reduce costs and make insurance available to millions who cannot currently afford it.
Dr. Paul Hsieh
The writer is cofounder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine.