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Who’s to Blame?

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Massage therapist Jeffrey Blank is losing his family’s current health-insurance coverage because that policy doesn’t “comply with the health law’s mandated basic benefits” (“Insurers restricting choice of doctors and hospitals to keep costs down,” Nov. 21).  Because he likes the policy that he’ll soon lose, Mr. Blank is understandably upset.

Yet “Blank faults the insurer and not the health law.”  (Presumably Mr. Blank blames his insurer for not increasing the benefits it offers so that his policy would come into compliance with Obamacare’s mandates.)  How bizarre.  Blaming the insurer in this case would be like blaming Mr. Blank for quitting his job as a masseur in the wake of a new government mandate requiring all masseurs not only to continue to supply the services that their clients previously paid to receive but, in addition, to walk their clients’ dogs, to mow their clients’ lawns, and to paint their clients’ houses – all at no extra charge.

In what universe would Mr. Blank – rather than the government officials who imposed the massage-coverage mandate – be morally culpable for the resulting reduction in the availability of massage therapy?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030


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