America Doesn't Need a Health Insurance 'Czar'
The Wall Street Journal warns us that under ObamaCare, we may see yet another "czar" -- this time, in charge of our mandatory health insurance. This would be in addition to the long list of czars President Obama has already appointed for "green jobs," executive pay, domestic violence, international climate change, and the auto industry.
Under any system of mandatory insurance, the government must necessarily determine what constitutes an "acceptable" plan. The health insurance czar would be in charge of a new bureaucracy called the "Health Choice Administration," which would regulate what prices insurance companies could charge for policies, who they must cover, and what benefits they must offer.
If you'd rather purchase a low-cost "catastrophic-only" policy, but the czar determines that all health plans must include benefits such as in vitro fertilization, blood lead poisoning treatment, and chiropractor services (as some states like Massachusetts already require), then too bad. You won't be allowed to spend your own money based on a rational assessment of your needs and circumstances. Instead, Washington will tell you how you must spend your own money.
To add insult to injury, President Obama has repeatedly promised:
If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
It turns out what he really meant was: "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep it -- but only if my czar lets you."
After a five-year grace period, large employers who offered health insurance to their workers would have to abide by all the rules set by the czar as to what counts as a "qualified" plan. Small employers offering health insurance could be subject to the new rules even sooner.
The only argument between the president and Congress on this point is whether your limited range of mandatory insurance choices would be determined by a single national-level czar (which the president and the House Democrats prefer) or 50 state-level czars (which the Senate Democrats prefer).