It can't fail

Obamacare can't "fail," because it was never designed to work in the first place.

The only problem is that they didn't expect it to fail this fast.  Such a brutally obvious face-plant playing out in the news within a year of the midterm elections, in ways obvious to some of the lowest-information voters with the murkiest political philosophies, can't have been in the game-plan.


Elise said...

Yeah, I don't buy this one. People's policies are getting cancelled because ObamaCare changed the rules.

Both Independence and Highmark are canceling so-called “guaranteed issue” policies, which had been sold to customers who had pre-existing medical conditions when they signed up. Policyholders with regular policies because they did not have health problems will be given an option to extend their coverage through next year.

I think all this means is that in some States, people who get insurance under "guaranteed issue" (i.e., the State insurance commissioner has said "you have to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions") got less comprehensive policies than people who bought *not* under "guaranteed issues". Those less comprehensive policies don't suit Madame Sebelius so they have to go.

If we start hearing lots of stories about people insured under "guaranteed issue" who are cancelled and their old insurer, who is still selling in the individual market, refuses to sell them policies outside the exchange I think we can worry about insurers shedding high-use customers. It's possible we'll see that but I don't know why we would. As far as I can tell, people who buy through the exchanges and people who buy direct go into the same risk pool so an insurance company has no reason to prefer I buy insurance through the exchanges rather than directly from them.

I see these kinds of stories as part of the "it's not ObamaCare's fault, it's those nasty insurance companies". That's one of the (many, many) reason I think ObamaCare is such a lousy idea: the Feds (and NBC and health care "advocates") will blame the insurance companies for everything and an awful lot of people will believe that.

Texan99 said...

That's not how I read the article. I think the idea is that the death spiral will kill the insurance companies, and that the American people will then clamor for a national health system so as to escape the evil grip of the profit-motivated health insurance corporations. But it needed to look as though Obamacare was working for a while. Slowly the insurance companies would wither, and they would look like the source of the problem. If the whole thing looks like a spectacular failure from the start, the insurance companies look competent and choice-based in contrast with the government system.

Elise said...

So long as the employer-based health insurance is walled off from the private health market, that's not going to be a problem. I seem to keep recommending her but McArdle has a up a post explaining why "Obamacare Fiasco Isn't a Single-Payer Conspiracy". She's basically saying what I've been saying: the numbers don't add up.

It looks like 80% of the people in this country have health insurance that *isn't* purchased through the individual market. Those 80% aren't affected by the ObamaCare fiasco and aren't going to feel any effects from it. Well, they are, but indirectly enough and far enough down the road so that they won't realize where they came from. If the individual health insurance market tanks, those 80% will still have health insurance they'll want to keep. They'd be far more likely to go along with dumping us all into Medicaid than with losing their health insurance because we can no longer buy ours.

Texan99 said...

I haven't read the McArdle piece, but I'll take your word for it; she tends to be careful with her numbers. But the market for employment-based insurance is being roiled, too.

I don't actually think anyone was clever enough to structure a careful plan to undermine the insurance companies on a schedule. I do think that even people with no real grasp of markets can see that rigid regulation of prices and features will imperil the health of insurance companies eventually, and they're simply unconcerned, because they think for-profit insurance is evil. At the same time, there are an awful lot of people hoping that somehow people will become so disenchanted with the status quo that they'll get what they really wanted, which was single-payer.