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March 19, 2014

The Arrogance of ObamaCare

The one size fits all model used to construct the health law is its biggest functional flaw.

ObamaCare hit a milestone Monday, as the Obama administration announced that five million people have now enrolled for health insurance under the law. That’s approaching the six million that the Congressional Budget Office projected would enroll by March 31. But there’s more than meets the eye here.

The White House still won’t say how many people have paid their premiums (i.e., actually enrolled). It also won’t tell us how many enrollees were previously insured. Millions of Americans saw their health plans cancelled because of the law’s regulations. The law says plans must cover all kinds of “comprehensive” things, so when a plan changed slightly after the law went into effect, it then had to comply with all of ObamaCare’s regulations – hence the cancellations. If new enrollments are substantially made up of previously covered but subsequently cancelled people, that’s hardly a success. In fact, it’s often replacing a decent plan with a worse one that costs more.

According to one recent survey, one in three uninsured Americans plans to remain that way. That’s in large part thanks to skyrocketing premiums that will double in some parts of the country. The sticker shock is deterring many and causing those who do sign up to choose the bottom-rung “bronze” plans. Folks would rather pay the fine (ahem, the “tax”) of 1% of adjusted gross income and only sign up when they get sick. Who can blame them when the administration keeps delaying any penalties?

The White House has taken to entertaining, nagging and cajoling the young people ObamaCare must enroll in large numbers in order for it to “work.” To subsidize the old and sick, the law depends on 40% of enrollees being young and healthy. But only about 25% of enrollees are young and it’s a safe bet they’re not as healthy on average as their age suggests, which means they won’t balance the additional costs of the old and sick.

One of the core problems with ObamaCare is the designers’ arrogance. Congressional Democrats thought that in a nation of more than 300 million people only they were smart and benevolent enough to design a health care law to fit everyone. But it will only work if participation is mandated. It’s hard to think of something more antithetical to the principles upon which the nation was founded. And it’s no wonder it isn’t working.

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