When I entered medical school in 2003, I asked if I could opt out of the group plan and buy my own health insurance. I discovered I could save several thousand dollars a year by shopping around and signing up for a high-deductible catastrophic care plan, which is all I needed or wanted. The dean of the college refused. He said that if too many healthy students opted out, the cost of the group plan would go up.

“So you’re taking away my choice to buy my own insurance and forcing me to pay more for a plan I don’t want or need, because I’m in better health than the average student?” I’ll never forget his answer. “We have a student starting in next year’s class who’s diabetic. His medication is expensive. All of us should be helping with that—it’s the right thing to do.” That belief, and the inevitable consequences of it, is what has destroyed American healthcare.

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