Free Market Lessons from Contraception Fight
3) We must fight for freedom as a principle.
As George Will noted:
The Catholic Bishops, it serves them right. They’re the ones who were really hot for Obamacare, with a few exceptions. But they were all in favor of this. And this is what it looks like when the government decides it’s going to make your health care choices for you.
If the Catholic bishops had previously opposed ObamaCare and supported free market health care reforms on principle, they would now have the moral high ground to argue for religious freedom. But having made their earlier deal with the devil to support ObamaCare, they’re now paying the price.
And their current attempts to seek their own ObamaCare exemption merely turns them into just another special interest group lobbying for a waiver, such as labor unions or the politically connected friends of Nancy Pelosi.
The Catholic bishops can recapture the moral high ground by not merely seeking a narrow exemption for themselves, but rather by supporting broader free market health care reforms, including:
A) Eliminating the tax disparity between employer-provided health insurance and individually-purchased health insurance. This would uncouple health insurance from employment and restore a level playing field to the individual insurance market. Individuals could then purchase policies that they kept even when they changed jobs (just as they already do with their car and homeowners insurance). Employers would no longer be responsible for coverage choices made by their employees.
B) Eliminating all mandated benefits -- not just contraceptives, but the dozens of others such as orthotics, autism therapy, in vitro fertilization, etc. Insurers should be free to offer to willing consumers inexpensive policies covering only catastrophic accidents and illnesses. Insurers would remain free to offer richer policies that covered varying levels of elective procedures (but cost correspondingly more). Customers could purchase whatever levels of coverage they wished from willing insurers based on their own individual needs and circumstances.
These free market reforms would lower insurance costs for many consumers, allow individuals to keep their insurance when they changed jobs, and free employers from having to pay for medical services that violated their religious principles.
In summary, the root cause of the current controversy is government interference in the marketplace for health insurance. And the only proper solution is to repeal those government controls and move towards a fully free market in health insurance.