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This article, published today in The Washington Examiner by Timothy Carney, explains why the big health insurance companies are mostly behind Obama's efforts for health care reform:
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).
They are lobbying to force entrepreneurs to buy insurance for employees (the employer mandate). They are lobbying for more subsidies paid for by us taxpayers. In short, they are lobbying against regular people and against the free market.
Unsurprisingly, Carney favors one position of FreedomWorks; he states:
Also, Rep. John Shadegg, a conservative Republican from Arizona, has proposed a bill to allow interstate purchase of health insurance. Blue Cross has fiercely opposed this idea that could introduce more competition. Currently, Blue Cross companies typically have only a handful of competitors in each state.
This is an industry that thrives on government protection. But still many conservatives and Republicans stand up for it and speak as if we have an obligation to protect it. We don't.
Read the whole thing.
The ruthless competition that characterizes many other industries, such as electronics, illustrates that free markets generally pressure producers to lower prices to capture greater market share or, in some cases, to just stay in business. Imagine if you could not purchase computers in certain states. In the long run, protectionism - implemented by a country, state, town, or any designated area - is detrimental to society at large. Naturally enough, the companies that dominate those industries being protected often like the protection.