Health Insurance

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: The biggest fight of Bill Clinton's first administration was over health care. Commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says the fight goes on, and the bad guys are winning.

The last congress, without serious debate, passed two health insurance mandates: mothers can stay in the hospital for at two days after a well-baby delivery, and mental health benefits caps can't be lower than physical benefits. Both will cost business millions. Premiums will go up, and more people will voluntarily drop insurance.

Mandated benefits have increased premiums 15 to 30 percent. If people really wanted them, insurers would offer them to get more business.

Now, every interest group from chiropractors to aroma therapists will descend on Washington to convince Congress to mandate their specialties into insurance laws. The result? Higher premiums, more people dropping insurance.

Medical savings accounts are better than more government regulations. With MSAs, people can choose a high deductible, put premium savings in an account, and decide what services to pay for -- because they want to, not because government says so. They keep money they don't spend and have an incentive to spend wisely. Doctors will again have an incentive to provide cost-effective medicine, not cut corners to serve an HMO bureaucracy.

The tax-free MSA demonstration project is limited to four years and 750,000 policies. If you're eligible, grab one now.

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 tomorrow.

Host outro: Friday, TV and politics go together like oil and water. Pete du Pont explains why they don't mix. Or shouldn't.

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