The Obamacare Insurance Exchanges Are Like Government Owned Grocery Stores
There seems to be some confusion about the Obamacare law’s health insurance exchanges, which have become a hot political topic since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s insurance mandate. Many Republicans are resisting implementation, but those in favor of implementation (including some business groups and private insurance companies) say that’s misguided.
They argue that the states should implement the exchanges because it would mean more local control over the exchanges. That sounds appealing, but it’s a completely bogus argument.
The other argument is that the exchanges aren’t a government take over of health care because you would still buy insurance from a private company. This is technically true, but also misleading.
Think of the health insurance exchange as a sort of government-managed grocery store that everyone is required to shop at. The products sold in the store are produced by the private sector, but what products you can access is controlled by the government. If the government decides you should buy Pepsi instead of Coke, or Cheez-Its instead of Wheat Thins, that’s how it will be. And you’ll have no choice but to shop there and accept the choices you’re given.
That’s why insurance industry giants like Blue Cross Blue Shield are so anxious to implement the exchanges. Not because they want more competition, which is what some politicians are claiming, but because they want to make sure their products have a spot on one of the government store’s shelves.
What we ought to be doing is rejecting the premise that we need a government store for health insurance at all.Tags: health insurance, insurance exchanges, obamacare