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A Confused Message on Insurance Mandates

On the topic of the government’s role in mandating insurance coverage, there’s an interesting distinction being put forth by some conservatives as they aim to

Morgan Maverick
Jul 31, 20204 Shares886 Views
On the topic of the government’s role in mandating insurancecoverage, there’s an interesting distinction being put forth by some conservatives as they aim to bring down the Democrats’ plans to revamp the nation’s health caresystem: Namely, they’re arguing that requiring drivers to buy insurancemakes sense, but mandating coverage for patients doesn’t.
The issue came to headyesterday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” where host Chris Matthews and Tim Phillips, whoheads Americans for Prosperity, duked it out over whether that distinction makes any sense. Phillips, a self-described free-market conservative, argued that the drivers’ requirement is “a decent mandate,” but he doesn’t feel the same system is appropriate for healthinsurance.
“When you have healthcare, that’s a choice that impacts yourself,” Phillips said. “Drivers’ insuranceimpacts other drivers you may have accidents with.”
When Matthews accurately pointed out that healthinsurancecertainly does impact other patients — because hospital emergency rooms, which are required to treat patients whether they’re insured or not, simply pass along the coststo treat the uninsured to everyone else — Phillips responded by upending his own differentiation between drivers and patients.
“They doput costs on the people who buy insurance,” Phillips said of the hospitals, “but I don’t want to see government reaching in and hitting the pocketbooks and requiring them [patients] on the insurance front.”
Phillips is pushing for the broader creation of private healthsavings accounts. Considering the recent volatility of the stock market, though, it’s a bit strange that there’s still talk of trusting Wall Streetto manage something as vital one’s healthsavings.
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