Obamacare will force insurers to upgrade their products to meet a minimum level of comprehensiveness, lay down some rules limiting price discrimination against the sick and the old and the female, and then help people pay for the final product. It’s a lot like what happens if you move to an employer that offers better health insurance and helps you pay for it.This isn’t, by the way, some new insight, or argument. The Congressional Budget Office wrote about this effect during the Obamacare debate, and its study was widely reported.
Anyone who’s been involved in drafting or debating this legislation has known for a long time this was coming. Jay Carney put it this way: “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there is going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage, minimum services every insurance provider has to provide.”The only ones who have been caught off guard by this “revelation” are media outlets and supporters of the law that haven’t been paying close attention. Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” has always been something “between an oversimplification and a falsehood” (and, really, we can do away with the left-hand portion of that range of possibilities). The general public is at long last realizing that fact.But does this debate matter? Why is it important what Obama knew and when? It matters, first, because it points to a deep disconnect between the technocratic governing class and the American people. Reassuring the public with something “between an oversimplification and a falsehood” while designing a system that would have such widespread and disruptive effects is typical behavior for those in the grips of the technocratic mindset. We need to recognize and remember this behavior in the future.Second, this debate matters on its own merits. The reason why these plans are being eliminated is to impose new plans that force the young and healthy to subsidize benefits for the middle-aged and old. If you’re interested in creating a dynamic and growing economy, this is a step in the wrong direction. This kind of generational transfer imposes higher costs on the people that society relies on to innovate and take risks, smothering them in yet another wet blanket of bureaucratic risk aversion and pro-middle age policies.