Some people have short memories, and politicians have the shortest.

In the unlikely event that the Affordable Care Act is repealed by the courts, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, have proposed a bill that would force insurance companies to continue to include a long list of “essential” coverages in their policies. It would also curtail the use of popular short-term policies that are not required to include all of the benefits that some third party has deemed essential, but that aren’t needed or wanted by many purchasers.

Readers with longer memories than Mr. Jackson’s and Ms. Gideon’s will recall that mandating policies with a long list of required coverages is exactly what Maine did in the early 1990s. The result was that the cost of health insurance rose sharply, enrollments declined and most insurance companies left the state.

It takes a good deal of arrogance, a prominent feature of the progressive mind, to claim as Mr. Jackson does that only one-size-fits-all policies are right for everyone, and that all other options are junk. Individuals make all kinds of complicated consumer choices for themselves, but Mr. Jackson and Ms. Gideon think Americans are too dumb to select health insurance plans that meet their particular needs.

The laundry list of required benefits is one of the reasons why ACA policies are so expensive, and without subsidies, these policies would be unaffordable for many people. We have already seen this in Maine. The country’s health care system has become an expensive mess, and the Jackson-Gideon nanny state approach to insurance is a major cause.

Martin Jones


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