The Washington Post’s Liza Mundy had a cute take on the recent divorce of reality TV stars Jon and Kate Gosselin:
Poor Jon and Kate. Their marriage is over, their show on hiatus, their domestic ordeal entering a new phase of acrimony. Possibly nothing could have saved this marriage, but one thing would have made it less fragile: a mandate for health insurance to cover in vitro fertilization.
If the Gosselins, whose efforts to raise eight kids have been chronicled over five seasons on cable television, had enjoyed, and availed themselves of, ready access to IVF — the most sophisticated, controlled and expensive form of fertility treatment — they almost certainly would not have had six children at once.
Let’s stipulate, for the sake of argument, that IVF would have saved the Gosselins’ marriage. But would an insurance mandate have provided them access to that care? Probably not. All insurance mandates drive up the cost of insurance for everyone. With higher insurance premiums it is more likely that Jon and Kate, who Mundy reports “were hardly affluent,” would have been priced out of the health insurance market entirely.
But then, Mundy might argue that a government-run health plan is needed to provide IVF to all Americans. Well, the United Kingdom does just that. Well… not quite. The Telegraph reported last week:
Infertile women told they can have IVF but only between the ages of 39 and a half and 40
Women seeking IVF treatment on the [National Health Service] have been told they only qualify if they are between 39.5 and 40-years of age under policies which have been condemned as “cruel and bizarre” by fertility experts.
The bottom line: nothing is ever free. All health insurance mandates, like ones for IVF, drive up insurance premiums for everyone making more people uninsured. And a government takeover of health care is no panacea either, as the government must inevitably control costs through rationing. Mundy should look for marriage salvation elsewhere.