Posts Tagged ‘health insurance’

If You Like Your Obamacare, You Can Keep It

November 11, 2013

Unknown-1The President repeatedly said that if you like your health plan, you can keep it (“no matter what,” he even added). He forgot to add: IF the government likes your plan too.

He says he “regrets” people being screwed because they relied on his words. It’s an “apology” akin to those saying, “I’m sorry if my remarks offended anyone” — not sorry about the words themselves, or admitting they were wrong — i.e., a non-apology.

So now all the millions with cancelled insurance are being told: your old plan wasn’t any good anyway, and the government will help you get a better one (once the website is fixed*).

Until then, Obamacare seems to mean more people losing insurance than gaining it. But the real story is the paternalism of government telling folks it knows their insurance needs better than they do, and the new plans will be better because they cover more. What about all those preferring a cheaper plan – cheaper, because it doesn’t cover so much? Tough luck. Government has decided every health plan must cover maternity care, for example; so even if you’re a sixty year old male, you’ve got to have (and pay for) a plan that covers maternity.

Unknown-2It’s another classic case of Liberal Disease: the belief that anything desirable should be required. So if it’s ideally nice for a health plan to cover maternity care, and much else, now it’s all required, for everybody, want it or not.

This is the syndrome responsible for lack of affordable housing. Apartments must meet so many rules and regulations for niceties, raising their cost, that simple cheap rooms the poorest can afford are unavailable. Likewise day care: providers must meet so many government requirements that there’s no cheap day care. And all these requirements were created by the same do-gooder liberals who bemoan the inevitable results, lack of affordable day care and housing. Now they’re doing the same for health insurance.

It was always clear that a key feature of Obamacare is to get insurance to lower-income people by having government (i.e., taxpayers**) subsidize it. So the affluent are paying for the non-affluent. Nothing new there. However, in addition – this is the sneaky part – the healthy are paying for the sick.

Unknown-3That’s what’s really going on with all the requirements for insurance plans. It’s not a “bug” that many folks are forced to pay for a lot of coverage they don’t need, it’s a design feature: another way of sucking money from some people to pay for the health care of others.

UnknownTrue, the very concept of an insurance pool is to spread risk. Everybody pays a little for fire insurance so that the occasional fire is covered. But the difference with Obamacare is that it isn’t voluntary. We don’t get to decide for ourselves whether to participate in this pooling of risk. We’re thrown into the pool.

The administration says that when the dust settles, many people will actually pay less for insurance. My wife was one whose plan was cancelled, and we did get another, through the New York website, a little cheaper. For now.

But the future viability of the whole Obamacare scheme depends on its working as hoped – that is, all the sheep obediently line up for shearing – all the young and healthy people sign up for more health coverage than they really need or want, in order to pay for all the older and sicker folks. imagesIf instead the insurance plans attract too few suckers***, they will hemorrhage money treating the old and sick, causing next year’s rates to rise substantially – thus attracting even fewer healthy young people. And so on, a vicious circle that unravels the whole thing.

* Rather than trying to fix it on the fly, wouldn’t it have made more sense to call a time-out and close the website temporarily for repairs?

** Or more borrowing from China.

*** Yes, there’s a penalty for non-insurance, but for most people it’s much less than the insurance cost. Also, the penalty is on your tax return, and query how well the severely understaffed IRS can police it – will they verify that people claiming to be insured really are?