Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Christie’s Insurance Mandate is a ‘Teachable Moment’

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to tackle opioid drug addiction in his last year in office (He’s term-limited from running for a third term). Opioids are most commonly used for prescription pain relief. How will he do it? Another statist program. In Christie, lawmakers moving fast on aggressive bill to tackle N.J. addiction crisis, Susan K. Livio reported for the in late January, 2017:

Far-reaching legislation Gov. Chris Christie outlined in his State of the State address that would prevent opioid addiction and reduce economic barriers to inpatient drug treatment is expected to get a hearing as early as next week, one of the prime sponsors of the bill confirmed late Monday.

Though still in the draft stage, the aggressive bill requires insurance companies to admit addicts without delay into an inpatient treatment program regardless of their ability to pay, for a maximum of six months, according to Senate Health Committee Chairman Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), one of bill's prime sponsors.

The bill includes the following:

  • insurance companies to provide up to 28 days of doctor-recommended inpatient or outpatient treatment without prior authorization;
  • Insurance companies to decide whether inpatient or outpatient care in excess of 28 days is required before the initial 28-day period expires. The patient may file an appeal if denied an extension.
  • Patients to pay no more than what their insurance policy requires in deductible costs, co-pays and co-insurance;
  • Insurance companies to cover medication-assisted treatments - a growing category of drugs that block the body's addiction;
  • Doctors to write an initial prescription of no more than five days of opioids for pain;
  • Doctors discuss the danger of opioid addiction with the patient, or the minor patient's parent or guardian.

As we can see, the bill also includes more regulations on doctors, thus interfering further on doctor-patient relationships.

It's a teachable moment! If you want a lesson in why health insurance premiums are soaring, just look at this bill—more mandates on private insurers.

These drug treatment mandates will force insurers to raise general premiums further. This is great cover for the socialist politicians. By the time individuals and businesses see the premium increases, everyone will have forgotten about Christie’s bill to outlaw health insurance policies that don’t include the coverage politicians demand. The insurers get vilified. The politicians escape blame.

Make no mistake. Insurance benefit mandates are forced government redistribution of wealth—only less honest and transparent than direct handouts financed by direct taxes. Western politicians long ago realized that you can get socialism without nationalization by forcing private enterprise to be a conduit for socialist policies. It is called fascism, which is socialism with a private veneer. It’s a great gimmick. After premiums rise to finance the drug treatment mandates, the politicians can then blame “greedy” insurance companies, and then demand more ObamaCare or TrumpCare or WhateverCare subsidies to “help” insure people their own mandates helped price out of the market—either that, or demand single-payer government control to replace the "failed" market.

How about a little truth and transparency from politicians, for a change? Government-enforced wealth redistribution is immoral and unconstitutional. Health insurance benefit mandates are just that. But if we’re going to have them anyway, let’s at least demand that our politicians do it openly, so we know exactly how much our pockets are being picked to pay for them. If the politicians want to pay for drug treatment, pay directly with government checks and then tell us exactly how much we will be taxed to fund it rather than dishonestly burying the costs in our health insurance premiums.

Related Reading:

Autism Treatment and Government Insurance Mandates

Almost All Americans Lack Health Insurance—Beth Haynes, M.D.

The Only Obamacare Fix Is For Obama To Legalize Real Health Insurance—Paul Hsieh

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