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We are told by advocates of a universal health insurance mandate that it would be analogous to various state laws requiring drivers to buy auto insurance. Fred Barnes explains why this is a false analogy:
[The auto insurance meme] collapses at the outset because it’s not a universal mandate. No one is forced to buy auto insurance. Only those who drive are required to. Many of them don’t bother or can’t afford insurance and drive anyway.
Barnes goes on to point out an important feature of the market for auto insurance:
Unlike health insurance, there’s a national market for auto insurance. You can buy a cheap policy from an out-of-state company. You can buy only liability and not collision. If you have a history of safe driving, you get a large discount.
This flexibility isn’t the case with health insurance. A healthy young man in Kentucky could pay $960 for a policy that would cost $5,880 in New Jersey. The Kentucky company couldn’t sell the cheaper policy in New Jersey.
In other words, the auto insurance analogy fails for two basic reasons: There is no universal auto insurance mandate, and the market for auto insurance is (mostly) free of the government-imposed distortions that encumber the health insurance market.
So, the advocates of government-run health care have produced yet another phony argument. Which, once again, begs this question: If their position has merit, why are they always compelled to support it with spurious logic?
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+ May 2007
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