Bay State Cassandra

Back when ObamaCare was still being debated, a lot of critics pointed out ways it would fail and cause far more harm than any good it would achieve. At the time, I thought those critics were being insightful and thoughtful and exceptionally good analysts.

Well, it turns out they were cheating. They were just looking at how Massachusetts’ universal health care insurance mandate was falling apart, and applying the same principles to a national level. And hoo boy, were they right.

Hmm… otherwise healthy people not bothering to buy insurance until they really needed it, balancing the premiums against the fines and using the “no prohibitions on pre-existing conditions” loophole for their own benefit? Yup. It turns out that the fines for not having insurance are less than the cheapest policies, so some folks are just paying the fines — and then when they get sick, they sign up for coverage just long enough to cover their illness. Once they’re fine, they drop their coverage and go back to paying the fines. It’s a fine way to game the system.

Doctors and other medical professionals simply deciding they don’t want to deal with having the government run their businesses, and cutting back, moving out, or retiring? You betcha.

Insurance companies being told how much they can charge, to the point where the state refuses them to make a profit? Even to the point where they are legally obligated to lose money? Check. Several years ago, when the Bay State decided to regulate auto insurance premiums to “protect” consumers, many insurance companies simply stopped doing business in Massachusetts and the state became known as the accident fraud capital of the nation. Only in the past few years, after deregulating auto insurance rates, have companies started returning to the Bay State and rates have actually dropped in the face of real competition.

Of course, that’s hardly an option on a national level. Once ObamaCare kicks in, health insurance companies can expect to have their profits tightly regulated, minimized, or even eliminated “in the common good.” But they can’t simply pack up and move on, so they’ll have to find other ways to make money or go out of the health insurance business entirely.

At which point, a “public option” will not only be necessary, but mandatory. After all, if there’s any entity that can survive indefinitely without caring about making a profit, it’s a federal government program.

One doesn’t need a crystal ball to see this future. It’s all being played out in small scale in Massachusetts, and even there many critics of that program predicted precisely what’s happening now.

But obviously they’re just big old meanies, hateful, spiteful bullies who don’t understand that if something is being promoted as for the public good, it’s just WRONG to apply logic and principle and reason to the situation. And probably racist, too.

“But this road is paved so nicely, and this is such a comfy little handbasket, so whey don’t we just stroll along for a little while and see where it takes us?”

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