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Nunez and Legislators Urged to Oppose Mandatory Purchase of Private Health Insurance
Date:9/26/2007

u cannot force insurers to sell policies to everyone if Californians are not required to buy them. The truth is that people want to buy health insurance. Sick and well would join the new market if the product was affordable and those with trivial medical conditions were not excluded.

Small employer groups of two or more have to be sold a policy today, regardless of employees' health condition. There is no gaming by employers and groups. The 7 million uninsured are largely well, working families who often flit in and out of coverage. They are trying, but they just cannot afford to stay insured. The insurers and the medical complex are the problem, not the uninsured.

Mandatory auto insurance has been in force in California for two decades and has failed miserably. When insurance was mandatory, without premium regulation, 38% of drivers were uninsured. After passage of Prop 103 and the creation of the strongest auto insurance regulation in the nation, rates fell and so did the uninsured motorist rate. Today, one in seven drivers still has no auto insurance. That compares to one in five without health insurance under a non-mandatory system.

There is a big difference between mandatory participation in a cost- effective government program that protects us all (like Medicare) and being forced to buy an unregulated private product. A mandate may get us closer to universal insurance coverage, but we'll still be far from achieving universal health care. Why? Because the requirement will likely be for "affordable," bare-bones policies -- the kind that come with $5,000 deductibles, big co-pays and holes in coverage and benefits.

While we can choose not to own a car and avoid mandatory auto insurance, Californians' only choice to avoid mandatory purchase of health insurance would be to flee the state. That is unfair.

Massachusetts' mandatory purchase of private insurance is not a model. The promise of an "affordable mandate" has become a major finan
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SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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