Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Designing a Mouse

It's said that an elephant is a mouse designed to government specifications. The mouse, in this case, is the idea of extending health insurance to those who currently want but cannot afford it. The elephant is the jumbo-sized monstrosity known as Obamacare.

Here's but one recent example of how good intentions have gone awry, from's Ed Morrissey:
The initial shock of the premium increases and the incompetent use of $94 create the world’s biggest 404 exchange are just the starting shocks of ObamaCare….[N]ot only have premiums doubled in the individual markets, the coverage has gotten worse in a very concrete way.
Morrissey quotes from an article in the Chicago Tribune, in which a 33-year-old single father, a nurse practitioner with a 7-year-old daughter, faces a more than twofold increase in his $233 per month insurance premium. Alternatively, if he wants to keep costs down, he can pick a plan with a $12,700 annual deductible.

Obamacare has imposed all sorts of requirements on insurance plans - remember Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke and her demand that insurance cover her birth control pills? - that drive up costs. Keeping premiums down to an affordable level often requires deductibles that are so high the insurance plan is essentially a catastrophic coverage plan, but at the price of a Cadillac plan.

This is not to fault the idea of expanding insurance coverage. But the execution - typical of big government projects - has been horrible. People who have had satisfactory individual coverage can't keep it, employers are dropping their plans and forcing employees into the Obamacare exchanges as well as reducing the number of full-time employees. Meanwhile, the math requires that young, healthy people buy expensive insurance policies in order to subsidize older, less healthy people. What are the odds that many of them do that, rather than pay the additional tax and roll the dice?

Rather than acknowledge the shortcomings of Obamacare, the President and most Democrats in Congress are shouting that it's working as planned, no worries, things will get better, those dastardly Republicans are at fault, and oh! a squirrel!

An elephant indeed.

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