Commentary Magazine


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RE: The Latest Same ObamaCare Bill

I certainly agree with Jennifer that the latest iteration of a health-care bill out of the White House is same-old same-old.

There is basically just one new idea, and it’s a terrible one — the Health Insurance Rate Authority. This board would have the power to roll back health-insurance-premium hikes that were “unreasonable.” Needless to say, the definition of “unreasonable” would be determined by politicians, who would take political considerations (there are a lot more health-care buyers than sellers), not economic ones, into account. That’s why rent controls have been everywhere and always a disaster. The result will be that every health-insurance company in the country will go broke (which is probably what the Obama administration has in mind anyway, come to think of it).

Worse, health-insurance companies can’t compete in terms of price anyway, thanks to state price-fixing. (Thought experiment: If you watch television, you can’t get through an hour without seeing six automobile-insurance commercials, because auto-insurance companies compete fiercely in terms of price. But how many health-insurance commercials do you see? The only ones are for Medicare supplemental insurance, which is not price controlled, at least as of now.)

The people have spoken just as clearly as they can about what they think of the health-care bills that have already, if barely, passed the House and Senate. Many members of each chamber will have to be willing to commit political suicide to pass this one.  Like Jennifer, I’d be surprised. Very surprised.