I know, I know… one of the goals of the health care reform bill is to “provide competition” in the industry.  That just doesn’t make sense to me and I think I finally came up with a way to explain it…

Imagine you stop at this nice little diner and have a very nice lunch.  You decide to have some dessert, so you call the waitress over and ask what kind of pie she has available.  “We have apple and cherry from the bakery down the street, chocolate and lemon from a food manufacturer and our cook got some fresh in season blueberries so he made them into a pie.”  All of these pies cost $5-$7.

Image you go back to that diner and again have a nice lunch.  Like before you ask the waitress what kind of pies she has available.  “We have apple from the local bakery, apple from food manufacturer and our cook made an apple pie.”  “Why only apple?” you ask, “What happened to the other flavors?”  Your waitress tells you that the government passed a law setting minimum standards for pie, it must weigh between 3-4 pounds, have two crusts and have apples (no apple lobby here).  “Can I get a crumb top apple pie?” you ask.  “No,” she says, “the pie must have two crusts.”  “How about apple-walnut pie?”  “Sorry” she says, “that’s considered a “Cadillac” pie, we get taxed if we offer that.”  So you have your apple pie.  Now it costs $8, but at least you have pie.

The next time you stop by the diner for lunch, even before you ask the waitress drops off a plate of apple pie.  When you ask why she says, “There was a provision in the law that everyone has to have pie that meets the government standard.  The good news is the pie is free.”  When you get your check, you see a new item on it… “Pie Tax = $10”.

You think I’m exaggerating, but right now we have limited choices most because we get our health insurance through our employer so we’re limited to what they offer.  All of us however are limited by the law that requires we buy health insurance within the state we live.  Just like our first trip to the diner, we have choices but they are limited.  All the health care bills I have heard about sets standards that all insurance policies must meet.  This doesn’t increase choice, it limits choice.  Those same bills require that everyone get a “government approved” policy or face taxes and/or fees.  How long do you think employers will offer other policies that they get taxed for?  Finally, since the government not only sets the rules but can tax and borrow to subsidies their health care plan, how long before they’re the only option?  If government is the  only option, how long before this “free health care” not only costs more then before but the quality degrades to the level of the post office, IRS or military procurement?