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Pre-existing Health Insurance Amendment 63

Throughout this year, the Independence Institute has been working to get a measure on the ballot in Colorado to block the health care reform legislation that would require everyone to have health insurance starting in 2014.  Yesterday, the Colorado Secretary of State confirmed that the amendment supporters have gathered enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, so it will be up for a vote in November.

Interestingly, the amendment wording does not make any attempt to reverse the provisions in the PPACA that require health insurance carriers to accept all applicants as of 2014.

If I understand it correctly, the backers of the Right to Health Care Choice Initiative want a health insurance system that would require health insurance carriers to accept everyone who applies (since they seem to have no problem with that part of the PPACA), but with no requirement that people purchase health insurance.  While I can understand the desire to be free from government regulations that direct how we conduct our lives, this particular freedom only works if the health insurance carriers can be free to determine which applicants they will accept and which they won’t (the way our system currently operates).

Most people I’ve talked to can see the problem we would have if we were to remove the guaranteed issue aspect of health care reform but keep the mandate portion (ie, require everyone to purchase health insurance but still allow health insurance carriers to underwrite based on medical history).  For some reason, the opposite scenario doesn’t seem as far-fetched to a lot of people.  But in reality, it just wouldn’t work.  I cannot see any conceivable way that health insurance premiums wouldn’t dramatically increase if all individual policies had to be guaranteed issue but people could come and go as they pleased from the health insurance system.

Regardless of whether amendment 63 passes or not this fall, federal law still overrules state law and Colorado will have to go along with the provisions of the PPACA unless there are changes to the law on a federal level.  But it will be interesting to see what the people of Colorado think about this issue.

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