Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) this morning indicated President Donald Trump may soon be taking action on his own that may help consumers greatly in the health care arena.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Paul said it was something he has already advocated to the president “on multiple occasions.” He explained that, as early as next week, Trump may announce that he is going to take action that will allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines.
“I believe President Trump can legalize, on his own, the ability of individuals to join a group or health association across state lines to buy insurance,”
Co-host Willie Geist immediately asked if this was an Executive Order Paul was advocating, which Republicans have typically opposed, depending on the party of the president occupying the White House.
The senator indicated that it would not be an executive order, but a “reinterpretation of existing law with a more expansive definition of who can form an association.”
He described a law passed in the 1970s, the ERISA Act (Employee Retirement Income Security), which already allows corporations to purchase insurance across state lines and pointed out that this is currently 36% of the market.
“The good thing about my proposal, it costs zero dollars. I don’t think people on the left are going to hate it. It basically is legalizing the ability of consumers to collectively come together to bargain for cheaper prices. We need to do this because the insurance companies have all the power. If you watched any of the debate recently over this, both left and right think insurance companies have too much power. How do we get power to the consumer? Let the consumer organize.”
I hope there have been questions forming in your mind as you’ve been reading this post: “Why aren’t individuals ‘allowed’ to purchase insurance across state lines right now? And who is Washington D.C., to prevent or ‘allow’ such consumer choices?”
This is yet another example of government causing the problem in the first place and then, when proposing a fix, they expect us to fall down in gratitude to our supposed benefactors.
When Obamacare was being ram-rodded through with only Democrat support, Nancy Pelosi waxed on about how this would free people from being tied to jobs they hated in order to have employer-provided health insurance.
What she neglected to point out was that it was fellow Progressive Democrat, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who created this mess in the first place by implementing wage controls on employers during the Great Depression.
Entrepreneurs are always going to find a way to get things done, which usually means finding a way around artificial hindrances placed in their way by government, and that’s precisely what they did in the case of FDR’s Stabilization Act of 1942.
If they were limited in the amount of wages they could pay to attract the talent they needed, they simply offered “benefits” instead, which were valuable but could not be counted as wages, and, voila! The insurance market shifted from an individual marketplace to an employer-based marketplace.
And now, current day Progressive Democrats can wail their lamentations about the evils of how the insurance market is structured and position themselves as the consumer’s knight in shining armor, all the while hoping we won’t look at the mounds and mounds of government regulation that has stacked up over the decades (by both parties) which has brought us to where we are now.
So, yes, it would be an excellent thing for individuals to be “allowed” to purchase health insurance across state lines (just like you can do with auto insurance).
But the real question we must always keep in mind when the government is coming along to “solve” a problem is: How did this problem come about in the first place?
Perhaps if we discover that government intrusion in the market has caused the problem, we may wish to re-examine our seeming knee-jerk reaction to always want the government to come in and “fix” things we don’t like. Particularly when, the federal government at least in this case, has no constitutional authority to do so.