Alas, the President signed health care reform into law yesterday in an elaborate ceremony with 22 pens. It isn’t the end of the world; it isn’t even the end of the US republic.
But it will drive preposterously high insurance premiums still higher, and ultimately affect the care and insurance arrangements we currently have in effect (Our Fearless Leader’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding).
I’m still on the Barack Obama mailing list, and I received a missive Monday that asserted:
…every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.
No, what we’re guaranteed is access to health insurance, because we’ll be required to buy it. What the insurance will ultimately be good for–and even what the insurance we currently carry will be good for–is another question.
Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.
In fairness, some of these represent genuine problems. It clearly isn’t right for an insurance company to initially provide coverage and then, when you get seriously ill, refer to your adolescent acne, or something similarly irrelevant, as a ‘pre-existing condition’ and rescind your coverage. And nobody likes arbitrary premium increases.
But premiums rise to reflect increases in the cost of providing care, which has gone up far faster than the general rate of inflation. Unless you do something to actually reduce health care costs, what about the non-arbitrary premium hikes?
And if insurance companies can’t discriminate against pre-existing conditions at all, and insurance will still be expensive, what will prevent people from waiting to purchase insurance until they’re seriously ill? This will result in substantial, non-arbitrary premium increases.
And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.
Just one question: how? We’re going to mobilize trillions of dollars of private and taxpayer funds to pay for health care. How does that make costs go down?