Monday, December 13, 2010

The Commonwealth vs ObamaCare©: What's it mean?

As I'm sure our readers already know, a federal judge in Virginia has ruled the (Evil) Individual Mandate unconstitutional. There are a lot of legal eagles already dissecting the various legal implications, but I'd like to share some thoughts about the ruling from the perspective of risk management. Of course, these are not incompatible, so please pardon my use of some legalistic terminology in this analysis.

Let's start with this: if one presumes (as I do) that the true goal of ObamaCare© is to destroy the health insurance system that over 85% of us currently enjoy, then this ruling is a boon to those who favor it. Since the judge has ruled that the precept of "severability" does not attach, then we are left with a system that will require insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions while driving away healthy folks who would represent a "cushion" against increased claims. As insurers face more expensive and frequent claims from those who are ill, premiums will escalate even faster than they already do, driving away healthy folks who know that, if and/or when they get sick, coverage will be readily and immediately available. What possible reason would they have to remain insured?

Of course, since we already know that this is the desired outcome of those who favor ObamaCare©, it makes perfect sense: once enough people leave the system, and premiums increase beyond our wildest imagination, the government will have little choice but to step in. Whether that's through price controls or simply moving everyone to a nationalized scheme, the result will be an insurance system far different than what we have now. The problem, of course, is that "different" doesn't necessarily mean "better;" as we've seen from (for example) the MVNHS©, such a system does little beyond rationing to rein in increased health care costs, while subjecting its victims, er, insureds to lengthy waits and poorer outcomes.

Obviously, Judge Hudson's ruling is merely a stepping stone; there are still approximately 4.8 million other lawsuits currently wending their way through the judicial system. I do appreciate that at least one jurist has "seen the light" regarding the Evil Mandate, but I'm less sanguine that this represents a meaningful step forward. Still, it's preferable to a ruling approving the mandate.

Absent imposition of severability, I give it a B-.
blog comments powered by Disqus