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.
[...]The problem stems in part from the state’s high medical costs and in part from its stringent requirements for insurance companies in the individual and small group market. In 1993, motivated by stories of suffering AIDS patients, the state became one of the first to require insurers to extend individual or small group coverage to anyone with pre-existing illnesses.
New York also became one of the few states that require insurers within each region of the state to charge the same rates for the same benefits, regardless of whether people are old or young, male or female, smokers or nonsmokers, high risk or low risk.
Healthy people, in effect, began to subsidize people who needed more health care. The healthier customers soon discovered that the high premiums were not worth it and dropped out of the plans. The pool of insured people shrank to the point where many of them had high health care needs. Without healthier people to spread the risk, their premiums skyrocketed, a phenomenon known in the trade as the “adverse selection death spiral.”
Obama plans to get around the problem of healthy young people opting out of paying for other people’s health care by fining them.
The new federal health care law tries to avoid the death spiral by requiring everyone to have insurance and penalizing those who do not, as well as offering subsidies to low-income customers.
[...]Under the federal law, those who refuse coverage will have to pay an annual penalty of $695 per person, up to $2,085 per family, or 2.5 percent of their household income, whichever is greater. The penalty will be phased in from 2014 to 2016.
How does this reduce health care costs? It doesn’t. But it does explain why we have so many uninsured in this country – they don’t buy insurance because government regulations requiring mandatory coverages have made it a bad deal for them. Young men don’t need to pay for in vitro fertilization and sex changes. They don’t use it, so why should they agree to pay for other people’s problems? They have their own lives to live.
Ed Morrissey explains:
If nothing else, this proves a couple of points that critics have made all along. The mandates are nothing more than a way to get the young to create a proxy welfare state by forcing them into a usurious insurance model. It does nothing to reduce actual costs, and in fact makes cost increases both more likely and more amplified.
Now you understand socialized medicine. The left plays on people’s fears and insecurities in order to gain control of the economy. They promise to take care of people, so that people can stop worrying about taking responsibility for their own choices. Once the leftists are elected, they take money from the young people who don’t understand what is happening to them, and they give it away to special interests in order to buy votes.