From Steven Horwitz (emphasis added):
[We must make it clear that] our objections to [Obamacare] is not an endorsement of the status quo ante, that the status quo ante was not a free market…Our current health care system is a corporatist-interventionist mess that’s very far from anything resembling a free market…
The result is the current mess in which almost everyone depends on insurance for nearly every “medical” service, and insurance (mostly) depends on having a job and the employer’s decision about the compensation package.
With insurance comes all the usual problems of third-party payment, such as: How can patients control their expenditures if someone else is always paying? In fact much of what health insurance does these days isn’t really insurance anyway; insurance is traditionally a form of hedging against risks, such as catastrophic illness. Strictly speaking, insurance cannot cover the cost of preventative care. Auto insurance does not pay for oil changes and tire rotations, and for good reason–it’s the road to higher costs and bankruptcy.
Given the roots of the system, it’s no surprise we’ve ended up in the nonsensical situation in which supposedly the way to lower costs and reduce the power of insurance companies is to force everyone to buy their products. It is more than a little ironic that the left celebrates a law that also caused champagne corks to pop at the big insurance companies, which spent a lot of money lobbying for it. Who wouldn’t want it to be the law of the land that every American must buy your product or pay a tax?