On Sept. 30, the U.S. government’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a statement lauding the year’s decrease in health and dental insurance premiums. The HHS bizarrely named its favored and disfavored political parties in the statement, but even more shockingly it misattributed the causes of decreasing premiums. In turn, the media sounded a lot like the HHS, narrating that the rare 2022 decrease in the costs of insurance plans is due to the Biden administration’s spending rather than to the first breath of healthy competition in the insurance markets since 1945.
In the United States, 76 long years of shielding the health and dental insurance industries from antitrust came to an end only last year. Their exemption was terminated by Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. Mike Lee, and also numerous Democrats, who sponsored the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (H.R. 418/S. 350). President Donald Trump signed it into law on Jan. 13, 2021. News coverage of it was scant and, of course, overshadowed.
The big news media and government’s unpopular love of publicly backed monopolies is matched only by the consistency with which they obscure their encouragement of monopoly from view.
The end of protected monopolies means that if providers of insurance keep up three-fourths of a century’s march toward uncompetitive practices, they know that they can be sued under antitrust. Yet correct explanations of this major law’s signing, which affects commerce, price points, and quality of life in this country, never reached people via the press. The popular and bipartisan unraveling of this government-protected monopoly was never clearly announced. Any celebrations of it that did break out were muffled in 2021, and this month not a voice in the establishment has connected the insurance premiums’ drop to the demise of protected insurance monopolies.
The big news media and government’s unpopular love of publicly backed monopolies is matched only by the consistency with which they obscure their encouragement of monopoly from view. A case in point, beyond insurance, is the education market. Nine out of every 10 dollars spent in education is spent by the government, which, using tax revenues, sucks the air out of local markets and deprives millions of students of rightful free choice among fair competitors. Parents in Arizona are resolutely fighting to regain their ability to determine, as they see fit, which among the legitimate local learning options are best for their children. Arizona’s H.B. 2853, a recently passed bill, funds children’s tuitions so that they can pursue the educational path that best serves them, as determined by their own families. What these citizens know is that the Constitution does not delegate education governance to the federal government, and so they’ve unbound the government from the funding of schools’ interests. With the new law, the government is to fund solely the interests of students.
Buffalo State College, the state university of New York, reports that, prior to the government’s big expansions in the field of education, “Instructional styles and the nature of the curriculum were locally determined.” While there’s criticism that Arizona’s law still abides by the tax-and-spend monopoly of government’s funding education in itself, the law ordains more freedom for families. As Arizona casts aside the government-backed monopoly of schools and returns learning to local citizens, the boost to educational choice, which enriches families’ options, is ignored in the big press.
Another public example of monopoly is the government’s preferential financial support and promotion of certain drugs when news cycles fill up with concerns regarding infections. The existence of healthy, unvaccinated people is proof of the feasibility of competing approaches to mandated COVID vaccination. Yet why, then, does the weight of the government often stand behind one medical approach and disregard methodical reduction of co-morbidities? The slanted playing field that the people are forced onto is caused by a monopoly controlling the economics of an emergency response that is intertwined with health agencies.
Most recently, we find that an example of state-sponsored monopoly has been imposed on the motor-vehicle industry. The state of California requires that electric vehicles be the only new cars sold in California by 2035, and its electrical service to homes is already monopolistic. With compounding monopolies in that “energy-unstable” state, where regulators control the combustible energy market, the economic hellishness of elite control without competition has broken loose. California gas prices have surged 96 cents higher to $2.60, and rising, above the national average — a record. And electrical power rates have continued their accelerating rise. The takeaway is that quashed economic freedom increases poverty and the price of essentials. States should reconsider the monopolistic approaches to the automobile industry.
The American Founding Fathers Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson would never have given up the liberty of personal control over their studies, their carriages, or their medicines, but, in much of America, the educational, vehicular, and medical decisions of the people are controlled by state-backed monopolies. Looking to the government as a salvific “Big Brother” brings the heartache of powerful public monopolies that last for eras and produce problems such as our current dissatisfaction in education, widespread wrongful government responses to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, and — until health-insurance competition was finally restored in 2021 — skyrocketing insurance premiums.
Government abuses and the politicization of every commodity have finally motivated many Americans to start decoupling from public monopolies. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act ended antitrust protections for medical-insurance monopolies. Arizona’s H.B. 2853 empowers students to choose their education, free of public-school behemoths that decimate the markets. As we continue to hear people demanding liberty from public monopolism, expect benefits such as those we have already seen reaped this year: downward cost pressures on health insurance and, in Arizona, the flourishing of quality, customized, competitive education services.