This morning the House Health Care and Wellness Committee held court before a packed house (2 overflow rooms) to consider requiring insurance companies to cover abortions if they cover maternity care.
Freedom Foundation does not take a position on abortion policy, but we do think it’s a bad idea for government to be restricting consumers’ choices. I testified on the bill at the invitation of Representative Jay Rodne, and told the Committee we should especially avoid new restrictions in healthcare, where costs are already sky-high due to all the government mandates (among other things).
The essence of a free enterprise system is the element of choice. It's what allows for competition and encourages innovation by allowing entrepreneurs to see and fill gaps in the marketplace.
This bill creates a mandate, taking away a choice that should rightly be left in the hands of consumers.
Ironically, Washington’s insurance carriers already all offer plans that include abortions, meaning the marketplace has already moved to meet peoples’ needs. Backers of the bill argued that somehow the feds will take away these current options through implementation of ObamaCare, a speculative argument that so far no other state seems concerned about.
Even if it were true, in matters that involve rights of conscience and religion like this lawmakers should seek a narrow solution, not just slap in place a broad mandate.
I also pointed out to the Committee that insurance mandates reduce flexibility and, as they accumulate, increase costs that are passed on to consumers. In order to bring down the cost of healthcare and put the decision-making power back in the hands of consumers, we should really be spending time on looking for ways to reduce mandates, not add to them.