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What “health insurance” means–or used to mean, or at any rate should mean–is something like this: a financial product insuring against future medical problems, and having enough money to cover them at fair prices because it does not insure against past and current medical problems for the same price.
Democrats banned health insurance in America. (To be fair, some Republicans helped move things in that direction; see comment # 19 below.)
We can talk about how wonderful it is to have pre-existing conditions covered, but that doesn’t change the fact that requiring their coverage means banning health insurance.
Look at it this way:
Imagine a financial product people use to help with the expense of medical care. It’s called “health insurance” because it is a financial product insuring against possible future problems, not paying for existing problems. That’s why it is an efficient product: The money going out of the pool is less than the money going in, since people buy into the pool as insurance against merely possible future problems, and not all possible problems become actual.
America has a long history of using financial products to pay for healthcare which are not health insurance but which we keep calling by that name. (See comment # 33 below.)
But, once upon a time, real health insurance was at least tolerated by law.
Back then, healthcare was getting more expensive in America. America liked the idea of health insurance–or at least the idea of what we called “health insurance”–so much that we fell in love with the idea of a financial product that finances healthcare. We wanted to make sure that everyone had such a financial product–a worthy thing to want. Sadly, there was no easy way to make that happen, because some people already had actual problems. So health insurance, probably the best reason we ever had to like these financial products in the first place, was restricted and, ultimately, banned.
In its place we set up a different product which did not insure against future problems. This new product bore the name “insurance” by a misnomer, or perhaps by a change in the English language.
This new product, alas, was doomed to inefficiency; the money going out of the pool could easily exceed the money going in because it was not an insurance against possible future problems. Hence the need for the unConstitutional mandate to purchase the product, the solution to which is not just to kill the mandate, but to legalize health insurance all the way. Repealing Obamacare in whole would be a good start. (See # 19 for a hint at another good idea.)
But what about those pre-existing conditions? Don’t those people deserve help? Yes, they do. And that fact does not make a good argument for banning health insurance.
It’s not fair that some people have trouble getting a nice cup of tea whenever they want it. But that is a terrible reason to ban all tea and require everyone instead to drink something “almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.”
That does not make a better world.
Neither does banning health insurance for everyone so that some people can have a very different financial product.
Maybe this problem has, as Thomas Sowell says, no solutions, only trade-offs. But banning health insurance, I’d say, was the wrong trade-off.
Still, there are other ways to help people with pre-existing conditions, up to and perhaps including government assistance. And down to and including fixing all the problems that were making healthcare so expensive in the fist place. E.g., allow purchasing across state lines, do some more lawsuit reforms, and end federal action forcing big employers to shove thousands of very different people into the same one-size-doesn’t-fit-all policies.