October 25, 2007 10:49AM

Yet Another Reason to Reject Universal Coverage

Today, National Review Online published an article by Kent Masterson Brown that argues:

Among the dangers of universal coverage is that when the system fails, patients may find they no longer have freedom to spend their own money to get the medical care they need. This threat to patient autonomy exists right here at home in the U.S. Medicare program…

In 2006, the California legislature passed a universal coverage plan that provided, “No health care service plan contract or health insurance policy, except for the [state] plan, may be sold in California for services provided by the [state‐​run] system.” Only a veto by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R.) prevented the California legislature from outlawing private health insurance for most medical services…

When [Hillary] Clinton and others claim that their proposals for universal coverage would expand patient choice, they should explain whether that includes the choice to spend their own money on medical care.

The article is based on a study Brown authored for the Cato Institute titled, “The Freedom to Spend Your Own Money on Medical Care: A Common Casualty of Universal Coverage.” 

Yet another reason why Americans — and especially conservatives — should reject the goal of universal coverage.