Voiceless Victim: Economic Freedom
Economic freedom is one of many sacred liberties individuals enjoy in our great country. Economic freedom allows for individuals to trade with others as they see fit and in their own best interest. It also allows for sellers to create and offer products of their own choosing, and buyers then elect to purchase that product or to not. Our economy is the largest and most robust in the world partly due to the financial liberty we enjoy. This specific freedom has been a beacon for many people seeking a better life for over two hundred years. Despite the obvious advantages of economic liberty, the progressive agenda continues to encroach on our personal freedom. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or ObamaCare, is another example of federal overreach.
Many are familiar with the growing list of victims of the ACA: the millions of people losing their health insurance completely; the millions more with rising premiums and deductibles, and even more paying for additional coverage they don't want or need. The stories from these victims understandably receive much of the news coverage. Unfortunately, I have not heard anyone mention another important victim: economic freedom.
Many parts of the ACA prove American citizens are no longer thought of as individuals with the capability to make their own choices.
Ezekial Emanuel was a health policy advisor to President Obama and the chief architect of the ACA. In the Wall Street Journal he freely admits the law will only work financially if young healthy people, who traditionally do not use much insurance, pay for expensive insurance policies they do not need. It will be hard to convince young healthy people to spend money on expensive comprehensive policies. That is why the Obama administration plans to penalize those who refuse to sign up with an extra tax. Not only does the law have the effect of raising premiums and deductibles for this underemployed demographic, it also effectively forces them to purchase a product they might not otherwise. If the law respected economic freedom, health insurance would be cheaper for the young healthy Americans that should not need to spend thousands of dollars on health insurance they are not likely to use. Clearly the law infringes on their ability to act in their own best interest.
Democratic strategist James Carville recently said "just because you call it health insurance doesn't make it health insurance." Carville is not ashamed to state his intention; government may decide if your insurance policy is not only inadequate, but no longer considered insurance. Elected politicians and unelected advisors are redefining private products, and forcing you to purchase them to fit their political agenda. You, the consumer, are no longer able to think and decide for yourself based on your own needs. The government will decide what is good enough for you. President Obama describes many health insurance policies as "substandard." Now by law, his opinion of what counts as substandard applies to every insurance company, and every individual in the country. The insurance companies have lost the freedom to make products they want to sell and the consumer has lost the freedom to buy them.
The ACA's mandated coverages also violate economic freedom. For example, ObamaCare deems it an "essential health benefit" for all policies to include maternity care. This forces 50-year-old men to purchase a policy that includes benefits they will most likely not use. People should have the option to choose to pay for this coverage. Insurance policies on the exchange will also cover "substance abuse disorders." This expensive mandate will cover drug abuse and rehabilitation no matter an individual's level of sobriety. Individuals with no history of substance abuse will have to pay for the "essential" coverage. Imagine if the state forced you to buy motorcycle insurance even if you do not own a motorcycle. Again, these mandates are not in the interest of the individual consumer. They are a ploy to separate the individual from his money for the perceived collective good at the expense of economic freedom.
We want quality affordable healthcare for everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us. The ACA isn't the solution to our problems because it violates economic freedom. Individuals making their own financial decisions with minimum government interference creates wealth and makes our economy strong. We should have laws that protect individual's goals, respect their hard earned money, and allow personal financial decisions be made with minimum political intrusion. We should be aware of and oppose the progressive ideology that stresses the welfare and benefits of selected favorite political groups at the expense of individual economic freedom.