Barack Obama often says, ”the reason people don’t have health insurance isn’t because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it.” He is right in this. Unfortunately, like the rest of his Democrat brethren, he has offered no plausible plan for reducing health insurance premiums.

One of the most significant contributors to the high cost of health insurance, and thus the uninsured problem, is the increasing trend toward state-mandated benefits. Many states dictate the services that must be covered by insurance policies, often requiring coverage for all manner of odd items such as chiropratic care and accupuncture.

Studies commisioned by AHIP and CAHI suggest that at least 20% of uninsured Americans lack coverage because of state-mandated benefits, and that such mandates add as much as 50% to the cost of individual insurance plans. Yet politicians of both major parties routinely advocate even more mandates.

There are, however, a few politicians who understand how much damage is done by mandated benefits.  Among them is GOP Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, who has pushed through legislation that will allow mandate-free policies to be sold in his state:

Insurance companies will be permitted to sell stripped-down, no-frills policies exempted from the more than 50 mandates that Florida otherwise imposes … The new plans will be designed to cost as little as $150 a month, or less.

This kind of state legislation won’t completely solve the uninsured problem, but it will put a serious dent in it. Unfortunately, only about a third of the states allow their citizens to buy mandate-free individual policies. More state governors should follow Charlie Crist’s lead.

Comments 1

  1. Nurse K wrote:

    Tell us a little more—obviously touchy-feely things like acupuncture should not be mandated to be covered by the state, but if that goes too far where insurances pick and choose what they’re going to cover to the extent that it’s confusing and exclusionary with respect to many disease states (making it so anyone who gets X disease is not covered at all or with out-of-date/less costly treatments only), and no one knows what’s covered, that’s also bad.

    Posted 25 Jun 2008 at 5:47 am

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