Democrats should learn from King Cnut

October 11, 2010

According to legend, the 11th century King of England once rebuked his fawning courtiers by ordering the tide to stop in its course and not wet his robe and feet. Of course the sea didn’t stop, and the royal tootsies were soaked. By this, the King reminded his nobles there was a power greater than his, against which all the royal authority at his command was impotent.

Democrats and progressives (and lawmakers in general) could stand to learn the same lesson. ObamaCare promises to provide care to more people for less money, all while dictating prices and levels of coverage. Just as with King Cnut when he tried to repeal the laws of physics, the Democrats have tried to command the laws of economics, only to find that reality is far stronger. John Stossel explains:

When Obamacare was debated, we free-market advocates insisted that no matter what the president promised, the laws of economics cannot be repealed. Our opponents in effect answered, “Yes, we can.”

Well, Obamacare has barely started taking effect, and the evidence is already rolling in. I hate to say we told them so, but … we told them so. The laws of economics have struck back.

Health insurers Wellpoint, Cigna, Aetna, Humana, and CoventryOne will stop writing policies for all children. Why? Because Obamacare requires that they insure already sick children for the same price as well children.

That sounds compassionate, but—in case Obamacare fanatics haven’t noticed—sick children need more medical care. Insurance is about risk, and already sick children are 100 percent certain to be sick when their coverage begins. So if the government mandates that insurance companies cover sick children at the lower well-children price, insurers will quit the market rather than sandbag their shareholders. This is not callousness—it’s fiduciary responsibility. Insurance companies are not charities. So, thanks to the compassionate Congress and president, parents of sick children will be saved from expensive insurance—by being unable to obtain any insurance! That’s how government compassion works.

In 2014, the same rule will kick in for adults. You now know what to expect.

In the King’s case, only his feet got wet. Under ObamaCare, thanks to the Democrats’ hubris, the whole nation is set to take a bath, unless we first de-fund and then repeal it at the earliest opportunities. Fingers crossed that the 2010 and 2012 elections will give them to us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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More on ObamaCare and individual insurance

July 23, 2009

I wrote earlier about what looked like a provision in the proposed health care reform bill to kill the private medical insurance market by banning the sale of new policies after the government plan comes into effect.  This was based on a  reading of the bill by the staff at Investor’s Business Daily. Others disagreed somewhat.

Philip Klein at American Spectator has taken a closer look at the bill and seems to have figured what’s really intended: it’s not that ObamaCare will ban new private insurance, it just bans the private market in insurance:

IBD followed up with a bit more nuanced editorial explaining that private insurers would still be able to offer individual insurance, but only through a new government-run exchange that would impose heavy regulations on participating insurers. At the prompting of our dilligent intern Molly O’Connor, I looked a bit further into the issue. This morning, I was able to independently confirm the IBD editorial with several Republican staffers on the Ways and Means committee. And if that doesn’t convince you, especially telling is a video clip (see below), in which Rep. Paul Ryan poses the question of individual private insurance to Cybele Bjorklund, who is the Democrats’ staff director on the Health Subcommittee that helped author the bill. While existing plans would be grandfathered in, Bjorklund responds that insurers “cannot create new policies outside of that window, outside of the exchange, but they can choose to operate in the exchange.”

In other words, private insurance may only be offered via a government-controlled market. And if the government provides the only market, it can also control the price and the breadth of offerings. It doesn’t have to own the insurance industry outright as long as that industry serves government ends, the essence of liberal fascist or corporatist economic policy.

It amazes me that the administration and the progressives in Congress insist on statist solutions straight out of the mid-20th century, which have been shown not to work as well as a free or mostly free market, when the tide of the world is still moving against collectivism.

Commanding the uncontrollable didn’t work for King Canute, either.