Focus Point - The Law of Unintended Consequences

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The law of unintended consequences is ready for work.

Bills are being proposed in washington to stop health insurers from discriminating based on genetic testing. Chip kahn, the president of the health insurance association of america, recently took up his pen to show why these laws are foolish.

First, several academic studies found insurers don't discriminate now based on genetic information. The health insurance portability and accountability act requires employers to provide coverage to all eligible employees, regardless of health.

It also prohibits singling out individuals for a rate hike or cancelling them for pre-existing conditions. And in any event, all states have laws that prohibit insurers from canceling coverage, and more than half have laws prohibiting genetic discrimination.

So why worry about proposed legislation? Because it would spur lawsuits by personal injury lawyers and stick us with standards that would limit development of beneficial medical technologies. It would overturn basic, in-place coverage that already keeps costs affordable.

'Couse it'll make for great political posturing.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.