Obamacare and the Tragedy of the Commons

Washington, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that it will apply a “one size fits none” policy to health insurance plans. Every woman will get contraception coverage, whether she wants it or not. If the individual mandate is a transfer payment from the healthy to the ailing, then this is a transfer payment from those women who don’t use birth control to those who do.

(Let’s ignore the rank sexism of only covering birth control for women and not for men.)

Anyone with a bit of knowledge of American politics should have been able to predict that someone would complain. Maybe some Catholics, maybe some Baptists — but someone. But it is equally predictable that if they had decided that no plans would cover contraceptives, someone else would have complained.

So the White House, having adroitly placed itself on the horns of a dilemma, decided that annoying social conservatives would cost them fewer votes come November than annoying radical feminists. Such is the politicization of health care over the past few years — and it’s going to get worse.

Now comes Vice President and former Senator Biden offering a “compromise”. What Mr. Biden is saying is, you quit your complaining, and we won’t force you to buy contraception coverage — in other words, a bribe. No deal, Mr. Biden: If it’s wrong to force Catholics to buy contraception coverage, then it’s wrong to force anyone to buy contraception coverage. Indeed, if it’s wrong to force Catholics to buy contraception coverage, then it’s wrong to force anyone to buy any coverage.

In a free market, if you want contraception covered in your health care plan, you seek a plan that covered contraception, or add a rider, and that’s that. If you don’t, you seek a plan that does not include such coverage. Now there’s a concept so simple that only a politician can’t understand it.

The problem is completely artificial and completely of Obama’s making (OK, with some help from Reid, Pelosi and a cast of hundreds). The solution, as usual, is to repeal the command and control top down Soviet style legislation and let the American people buy their health care insurance across state lines, like they buy so many other insurance products. (See HB 119 in the 2012 legislative session.)

The problem with that plan, you see, is that it doesn’t let our betters in Washington run our lives.

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