You can’t simultaneously support deism and atheism, or capitalism and communism. Embracing one makes it logically impossible to simultaneously embrace the other. They are mutually exclusive. If a candidate came out and claimed to be for both of those ideological constructs at the same time, in an attempt to win support from supporters of each idea, they would be the laughing stock of American politics.
If you doubt that, imagine if you saw these headlines in today’s news:
Dayton Tells Congregation “I Support Atheistic Christianity”
McFadden Tells Business Group He Embraces “Capitalistic Communism”
The candidates would be laughed out of the race for taking such absurd positions.
I submit that the same should be true of simultaneously advocating to 1) outlaw denial of health coverage due to a pre-existing health condition and 2) make health insurance coverage optional. It’s defensible to embrace either of those two positions. But it’s not defensible to embrace those two approaches simultaneously.
Here’s why: If you outlaw the insurance companies’ enormously unpopular ability to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, but simultaneously make purchasing health insurance optional, millions of people would stay out of the insurance market until the moment they got sick or hurt. After all, why would anyone choose to pay high premiums for years to protect themselves against the expenses associated with treating an illness or injury when they know that the insurance company will be forced to pay the treatment expenses after they suffer from the ailment? And if millions of people refused to pay premiums until the moment they need insurance benefits, the insurance industry would very quickly need to dramatically jack up premiums, or go bankrupt.
There is broad consensus about this. The Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance, the Manhattan Institute, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the Pacific Research Institute, the Manhattan Institute, The Concord Coalition, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Families USA and many others have all said that a coverage mandate and preexisting condition reform have to be paired in order for the finances of health reform to work.
Yet when GOP politicians endorse those two mutually exclusive positions, almost no political reporters note the absurdity of it. When reporters allow politicians to get away with simultaneously endorsing the part of Obamacare that outlaws pre-existing condition denials and opposing the part of Obamacare that mandates insurance coverage, they effectively allow those politicians to say something every bit as absurd as “I’m for capitalism, but I also support communism.”
For example Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate, and millionaire investment banker, Mike McFadden (R-Sunfish Lake) says:
Before we can make the kind of changes Americans deserve, we need to repeal the “Unaffordable Care Act” (which would repeal the coverage mandates)
…when we repeal and replace Obamacare, we need to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions actually have access to affordable insurance plans that cover their illnesses.
Any actuary will tell you that if McFadden and other GOP pols simultaneously enacted those two policies it would lead to a complete and utter meltdown of the nation’s health care finance system. But almost no political reporters will.
Note: This post was also featured on MinnPost’s Blog Cabin.