A Free Market Economy vs. 'Obamacare'

A look at why coverage of pre-existing conditions is such a tough sell for Republicans.

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Health care volunteers in Los Angeles (David McNew/Getty Images)

In a Meet the Press interview on Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said that there were indeed parts of President Obama's Affordable Care Act that he agreed with. Then, hours later, Romney aides refuted the candidate's comments, saying, according to Mother Jones, "In a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features."

Writer Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic breaks down why supporting a bill that prohibits discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions is so difficult for Republicans to square with America's free market economy.

Americans overwhelmingly want people with preexisting conditions to have some way of getting medical insurance, and many worry about one day being in that category themselves.

Contrary to statement number two above, however, the free market doesn't provide for policies of this kind (at least not that anyone can afford). No surprise there. That just isn't how insurance works.

Thus Team Romney's desire to interfere in the free market ...

Whatever you think of his various claims about Obamacare, he's right that the pre-existing condition provision is but one part of a sweeping bill. But who has the better policy on the narrow issue of preexisting conditions, as opposed to the larger issue of health policy generally? Obama's approach is easier to understand and won't exclude anyone with a pre-existing condition because at some point they let their insurance coverage lapse. You can see the appeal.

But isn't that approach an intrusion into the free market?

Read more at the Atlantic.

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