You often hear animosity for insurance companies from the Left. That is, those who want more government control of medical insurance. Yet, those who want less government should advocate repealing laws that coddle insurance companies at the expense of patients. As I wrote last week, insurance companies could gain so much credibility when arguing against more political controls on them by admitting how existing controls help them.
Tim Carney has an excellent article about how insurance companies benefit from existing regulations at patients’ expense, and have the nerve to push for more. It begins:
Dear conservatives: Health insurance companies are not your friends. Keep opposing a new government-run insurer, a single-payer plan, and new regulations on the HMOs. But grant that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is correct on this: Insurance companies are villains.
Insurance companies lobby for big-government regulations, subsidies, mandates, and tax-code distortions that funnel them money, keep out competition, and stultify innovation. These policies preserve the employer-based health-care system that mocks the idea of free-market competition. Then they cry “unfair competition” when government threatens to encroach on their government-protected monopolies.
But they’re not just lobbying against a government option. Today, health insurers are lobbying to force you and me to buy their product or face a tax hike (the individual mandate).
Read the whole article, entitled, Down with the health insurers.