Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Teen Columnist: Interstate commerce can cut health insurance costs

We can resolve the high cost of health care and the low rate of insurance coverage in one easy step.

We just have to allow interstate commerce.

The problem with our health-care system is that each state has mandates that artificially inflate health-care costs.

Under these mandates, certain items have to be in your policy whether you need them or not.

By allowing people to hit the Internet and look at other states’ policies, we can reduce our cost by 70 percent.

Currently in Arizona, the average family of four pays around $600 a month for insurance coverage.

In places where the price isn’t so artificially inflated, such as Kansas City, Mo., the monthly cost for that same family of four is closer to $140.

Here, we have mandated coverage for 12 chiropractic visits a year.

As a girl of 17 who doesn’t play sports, I have yet to receive any serious back trauma.

Not that there aren’t some who need that coverage. That is the beauty of this plan: If you like what you’ve got, keep it.

Those who don’t could shop around and pick the policy and price that suits them best.

This also helps those Americans who have yet to receive health-care coverage.

Not only will people get medical care because they can immediately get coverage at a cheaper price, but the overall price of everyone’s coverage also should go down in the long run.

This process was done some years ago in banking. Originally, you could use a bank in your state, and the prices were overinflated in a similar manner.

Then they allowed interstate commerce, and because of the competition, banking costs went down but still offered great values.

If we allowed interstate commerce to work its magic on health-care coverage, we could have a similar result.

With even bigger decreases in price, more people could afford the insurance.

We also could increase coverage in the workplace.

Arizona is known for its large number of small businesses. But these businesses have trouble affording adequate health insurance for their workers.

Larger businesses are big enough to have negotiating power.

If we allow small companies to band together in an association, they can act as a whole and thus have the same negotiating power.

They then can receive health-care coverage at a group discount.

With a few subtle changes, we can help all Americans to have health-care coverage and to get the kind of policy they want at the cost they want.

This isn’t a radical movement but rather the use of a proven method.

So shop around, pick what you want and don’t have it forced on you.

Allow interstate commerce to work.

Teen columnist Marissa Peate is a senior at University High School. E-mail: peate@email.arizona.edu.

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