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Obamacare or bust? There is a better option

August 25. 2013 10:51PM

This has been the summer that Obamacare began dismantling in earnest the health insurance plans President Obama promised us we could keep. Week after week, we have seen stories of companies altering their health insurance plans or switching employees to part time to avoid the law’s massive costs. Even NPR reported on Friday that Obamacare will “force” (NPR’s word) millions of Americans into health insurance plans they don’t want. This is the tip of the iceberg.

As Manhattan Institute health policy analyst Avik Roy pointed out at a series of events last week sponsored by Americans for Prosperity’s New Hampshire chapter, Obamacare’s regulations will deeply change health insurance in the United States, reducing choices and increasing costs. Just one of the negative effects: In the individual insurance market in New Hampshire, according to the Society of Actuaries, the average price of insurance will rise by 37 percent.

To cover everyone, Obama-care forces the young and healthy to buy insurance, and makes that insurance tremendously more expensive to pay the cost of covering the sick and elderly. But universal coverage and lower costs can be achieved in smarter ways. We know this because other countries already do it.

Switzerland and Singapore have universal health insurance coverage. Switzerland spends $1,628 per person on health insurance. Singapore spends $762, Roy shows. Counting state, local and federal government spending and tax breaks, the United States spends $3,967 per person. We spend far more and get far less. Why? Because we spend stupidly. (Obamacare makes this worse.)

Switzerland has a regulated insurance exchange (as Obamacare does), but instead of all the mandates and regulations on top of that, the Swiss simply give lower-income people a subsidy with which they can buy their own insurance on the exchange. People can choose the insurance coverage they want, with subsidies going to those people who need them, not to everyone (as with Medicare).

It is a cheaper, fairer, freer and smarter system. Roy makes a strong case that we should adopt a similar system here. Instead, we have the costly, burdensome, nonsensical Obamacare.

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