Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Congratulations, Barry: Obamacare Means No Insurance For Kids

Patterico - The book that helped me understand economics was “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell. One of his main points is that government intervention almost always has unintended consequences. Take rent control, for example. It sounds great (from the standpoint of renters) to have the government control prices so that they will be affordable. Problem is, it’s not so great for the landlords, and due to the law of supply and demand, housing shortages result. What was intended as a boon for renters often turns out to be a burden on people seeking housing.

So what do you think might happen if you sought to make health insurance more widely available for children — by simply mandating that companies with child-only policies make those policies available to children with pre-existing conditions?

You cheated and looked at the headline, didn’t you?

Some of the country’s most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23.

Welcome to the Law of Unintended Consequences, Barry.

Well. Unintended, by the chuckleheads who wrote the law? Sure. Unexpected by those of us who warned against such a law? No.

[S]upporters of the new health-care law complain that the change amounts to an end run around one of the most prized consumer protections.

“We’re just days away from a new era when insurance companies must stop denying coverage to kids just because they are sick, and now some of the biggest changed their minds,” Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, an advocacy group, said in a statement. “[It] is immoral, and to blame their appalling behavior on the new law is patently dishonest.”

No, Ethan, what is patently dishonest — or simply stupid, if there must be an alternative — is to ignore the fact that the new law caused this. They were told they couldn’t raise rates. What did you expect them to do? Lose money to comply with your sense of right and wrong?

Remedial economics all around!

It would be laughable if it didn’t exact an actual human toll.

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