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Why insurance?

I know the answer to this, so I’m asking a rhetorical question here: When did health insurance become the standard? Someone decided it would be a good idea — yes, probably even profitable! — to offer insurance in the health-care market; others followed suit: more and more companies entered the market to offer insurance products, competition grew, plans varied, and all was well. Those who could afford it or otherwise thought it was a good idea bought policies. Some employers decided to offer it as a benefit.

Then the government stepped in during WWII and outlawed wage increases. Businesses started to offer health benefits as a way around these wage controls, because whether the pols in Washington who came up with the bright idea of wage controls understood it or not, businesses still had to attract and keep the best employees it could. Enter the employer-based health-insurance system. Nothing more or less than an accident of history — rather, an obvious consequence of wrongheaded liberal policy.

Now, for some unknown reason, this horribly nonsensical idea of providing health insurance that covers every visit and procedure — a model that makes NO economic sense whatsoever in the first place and which has been worsened by government mandates and hairy regulations — has become the standard.

Why?

I submit that the moral crime is not that 40 million-plus people are uninsured; it is instead that 250 million-plus people are. The insurance model itself is responsible for health care’s skyrocketing costs. Sure, medical technology is expensive and is a big reason for the increased cost, but it wasn’t cheap 10 years ago to build laptops, either, yet those prices continue to drop, despite the ever-more-powerful technology loaded up in those. And why are laptops (and DVD players, and plasma TVs, and so on) so much cheaper in real terms than 10 years ago?

You guessed it: First, because the government hasn’t established a right to Macbooks, so in order to increase market share, Apple has to find ways to reduce their prices. And second, there’s no insurance model — yet — that allows people to pay a cheap monthly premium for the right to buy a new laptop every other month for a nominal copay of $20. If such a thing existed and were widespread enough, you can bet Apple would jack up Macbook prices for those who lacked the insurance to make up for the loss it would take on all the insured who, divorced from the true cost of Macbooks, would abuse the system.

But it’s only a matter of time. You watch.

Soon enough, some Democrat will assert that no one should be forced to live without access to a computer and all of his Democratic buddies in Congress will agree. And from that day forward, the market will be distorted, twisted, and abused until it’s brought to its knees — just as the health-care industry has been — and soon enough, Macbooks, too, will be unaffordable to millions. And the government will step in again to fix the problem it created. (Think about it: what are the three major areas of the economy that have become unaffordable to most people? Higher education, homes, and medicine. What are the three areas of the economy in which the government has played an active role to attempt to lower prices for all? You guessed it: the same three. Interesting that it’s only made things worse? Or maddening. One of the two.)

And Democrats wouldn’t really care if Macbook prices rose as a result, let alone care to understand why. Because what would really matter — just as all that matters about health care — is that they’ll have locked up the laptop-user vote.

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