Among all the tricks and goodies stuffed into the 2,000-plus pages of the multi-trillion-dollar health-care plan under consideration in the Senate, two issues are noticeably absent: tort reform and allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines.
Advocates of a government-run public plan claim that it would inject some healthy competition into the existing insurance market. The idea that an expanding federal bureaucracy will foster competition is absurd on its face; the public plan in any of its various mutations will only hinder competition by crowding out the private marketplace alternatives. A better way to foster competition would be to allow the hundreds of existing insurance companies to compete across state lines. By requiring people to buy health insurance licensed in their state, current law creates territorial monopolies and compels many people to purchase unnecessarily expensive plans with pricey mandates they do not need or want. Car insurance and life insurance are both available across state borders; there is no reason that health insurance should not be as well.