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There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch Buffet

A recent article in the journal The Objective Standard argues that laws which force health insurers to cover individuals, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions, are impractical and immoral. The author of the piece, Dr. Paul Hsieh, illustrates that such laws only serve to make insurance more expensive for everyone. And more importantly, he highlights that these laws are morally abhorrent, as they violate the rights of individuals to freely contract with whomever they choose on terms agreeable to all.

Dr. Hsieh writes:

“Suppose you ran a restaurant that offered an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. For a modest price, customers could help themselves to as much as they wanted from a variety of your dishes. But you also set certain restrictions—for instance, customers were forbidden to share their food with other customers or take food off the premises (no “doggie bags”). Most people would find such rules completely reasonable.

Now suppose the government passed a law forbidding restaurants from setting such restrictions on buffet meals. What would happen? Your costs would skyrocket as customers shared buffet food with others who had purchased only a cup of coffee, and stuffed food into Tupperware containers to take home for dinner. Soon you would either have to raise the price of the buffet drastically or simply discontinue it.

Although most people would be outraged at a law forbidding restaurants from setting such rules for their buffets, some Republicans are proposing laws that would forbid health insurance companies from setting similar rules with respect to their offerings.”

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Photo by Prince Roy, Flickr.com

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