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Business Watch: Free market key to cost effective health care

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By Paul Gessing

Legislation (SB 208) is now sitting on Gov. Martinez’s desk that would, at least in theory, bring greater transparency to health insurance pricing.
The long and short of the bill is to set up new requirements if a company wishes to raise rates. Rising health care costs are of course a problem, but nothing in it will contain or reduce health care costs for New Mexicans.
Nonetheless, the legislation is designed to achieve “mom and apple pie” status. Who could oppose transparency that makes it more difficult to raise rates? In fact, we at the Rio Grande Foundation have been at the forefront in promoting government transparency in recent years.
Transparency is generally a good thing, but it doesn’t save this bill. That’s because the problem with health care in New Mexico and in the United States in general is not a lack of transparency, but a proliferation of government mandates and regulations that transform health insurance companies from competitive companies operating in a free market to the equivalent of a heavily-regulated government utility.


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