Monday, April 19, 2010

NY and ObamaCare©: "Your lab results are in"

As we've opined here on numerous occasions, one of the best things about individual state-based health care "reform" is the ability to see how these things work in the microcosm, before implementation on a national scale. Such is the case with MassCare (aka RomneyCare), about which Bob notes below the most recent problems with that system. Each state represents a laboratory, each system an experiment.

Directly west of the Bay State, we can see how New York's "experiment" is faring. In a word: Poorly.

To wit:

"New York’s insurance system has been a working laboratory for the core provision of the new federal health care law — insurance even for those who are already sick and facing huge medical bills — and an expensive lesson in unplanned consequences. Premiums for individual and small group policies have risen so high that state officials and patients’ advocates say that New York’s extensive insurance safety net for people like Ms. Welles is falling apart."

An "expensive lesson," indeed: according to insurance industry trade group AHIP, the Empire State boasts the highest individual medical premiums in the country. The problem is that, although New York does have a fairly high cost of (medical) care, the plans are designed so that only the unhealthy have any real incentive to buy health insurance. Because "normal" markets attract a mix of healthy and unhealthy, average rates can remain affordable for most. When the scale is tipped to such an extent as we see in New York, though, healthy folks are understandably reluctant to so heavily subsidize those in ill health.

So how does this relate to ObamaCare©? Well, most healthy folks will (correctly) conclude that the ostensible fine (tax, really) for going without insurance is much lower than premiums under a system which rewards those who wait until the last minute to buy a policy. And the policies themselves will be much more expensive because of guaranteed issue, immediate coverage of pre-existing conditions, and a new raft of mandated benefits.

To quote Bob: Can you say "train wreck?"

[Hat Tip: RWN]
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