Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Mandate Delayed

I’m not into making predictions, mostly because it takes too long to verify their outcome, by which time the predictions have been forgotten. I much prefer to just lurk in the weeds and then say “I told you so” even if, in fact, I was merely thinking it. That makes me something of a prophet in my own mind, but... Whatever.

Anyway, I knew back when Obamacare first passed that it was going to remain popular only until it began to be implemented, at which point it was going to become very unpopular. I mean, suppose you passed a law requiring fire insurance companies to sell policies to people whose houses were actually on fire at the time. Everyone would love the idea on compassionate grounds, but once you implemented that policy it would not take long to figure out that everyone’s fire insurance had become meaningless and useless.

And so, of course, once we reach the point of implementation of this “health care reform” thing we find that, having delayed it for four years, we need to delay the employer mandate for yet another year because... Well, the reason given is that we need to simplify the rules, but that sounds a bit bogus to me. They’ve had four years to simplify the rules and they wait until the last minute to discover that the rules need simplifying?

I think somebody actually read more than the headline of the BLS report and realized that while we gained 150,000 new jobs, we also gained 400,000 part time jobs, meaning that we lost 250,000 full time jobs, and made the connection between that and Obamacare’s exemption of part time workers from the requirement for providing health insurance.

Whatever this delay means, it is hardly a testimony to the wonderfulness of Obamacare is it? You’d think that would it embarrass the administration to reveal its bias toward business interests by delaying the mandate for business but not for individuals, but this administration is not sufficiently self aware to be capable of embarrassment.

Not to mention that the revenue generated by the employer mandate was supposed to pay for the subsidies needed to support the individual mandate, so a source of funding for those health insurance subsidies is going to have to be found elsewhere. Krugman will not hesitate to advise borrowing it, of course, and the administration is not going to worry about its promise that Obamacare would be revenue neutral.

I’ve lost two of my five doctors this year. One of them, in his early fifties, quit practicing medicine altogether. The other one quit taking Medicare, so as soon as I lose my health insurance I will have to replace him.

The closer we get to this Obamacare mess, the more we find that it is just going to crash and burn. No matter how morally wonderful it may sound to do so, selling fire insurance to a person whose house is burning is simply not functionally sound. Companies being forced to sell insurance policies on which they know they are going to lose major sums of money is simply not a feasible health care solution. Neither is forcing providers to perform their services for less than it costs them to do so.

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