We all have to live with the consequences of our own actions, but it is deeply frustrating and irritating when we have to live with the consequences of other peoples’ actions—particularly when those actions are deeply stupid, and the negative consequences that arise from them are so foreseeable and indeed in many cases were foreseen. I think about this now:
[A]ssuming all of the numbers below are accurate and that I’m not missing any major data points, it looks to me as though Virginia insurance carriers are initially requesting an unsubsidized, full-price, weighted average rate hike of roughly 30.6% on the individual market.
Got that? Insurance premiums on Virginia’s individual market are slated to increase on average more thirty percent next year. If you have a job with employer-sponsored insurance, or you’re old enough to qualify for Medicare, or you’re simply a billionaire, then I suppose that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal to you. For the rest of us, however—and my family is among the rest—a thirty percent hike is a big deal indeed, like sit-down-and-think-about it kind of big, like three-extra-mortgage-payments-a-year big. Again, if you’ve got a lot of money to spend, you’re not sweating. If you’re a mere mortal, you might end up sweating quite a bit.
The premise of Obamacare was always profoundly moronic to begin with: the smartest, most Ivy League-credentialed Big Thinkers in the country got together to design a political road map to the ideal health care system, and the best they could come up with—the absolute golden cream-of-the-crop brainchild of all of that thinking and all of those Ivy League credentials—was an idiot piece of legislation the chief ambitions of which were (a) free birth control and (b) “minimum essential coverage.” The chief practical effect of the former was that a bunch of elderly charity nuns were sued by the government to provide abortifacients; the practical effect of the latter was that a bunch of perfectly acceptable insurance plans (my own included) were cancelled (after we were promised they wouldn’t be). In the midst of all of that, we have the price hikes: you know, the things that weren’t supposed to happen, the dastardly capitalist rate increases that Obamacare was supposed to pin to the mat.
Remember when a bunch of people pointed out that Obamacare was essentially guaranteed to make health insurance more expensive, and then a bunch of really super-duper whip-smart English majors and self-described nerd-wonks over at Slate dot com responded, “Um, well, actually, facts?” I remember that too, but I bet you I’ll remember it even more clearly next year, if and when my family’s insurance gets more expensive by a full third.
The standard progressive refrain in the face of these spiraling prices and this demonstrable failure of President Obama’s greatest domestic achievement is as such: “Well, gee, Obamacare would be working great if not for the fact that Republicans keep messing with it.” Leave aside the nursery-school-simplistic assessment of the situation and assume arguendo that this is true, that Obamacare would be farting unicorns and rainbows and low deductibles and free Pap smears for every Trans* man from sea to shining sea if it weren’t for the dastardly meddling of Old White Men. Okay: the Highly Intelligent People who designed Obamacare never even stopped to think about this for a single moment—they honestly and sincerely never gave it even two seconds’ thought: when you design a highly and aggressively politicized health insurance system, it is going to be subject to politics. This, too, was foreseeable and predicted with absolute clarity: if you surrender 1/6th of the economy to the government, then—now here’s an insane idea—the government might one day be in the hands of people who don’t like the way you designed things. Never a thought, never a moment: just surrender away. Everything will work out.
Remember what they promised you; remember what the eventual result was. And, when they promise something else in the future—more government, more plans, more assurances that Everything Will Work Out Fine If You Just Believe—remember how that worked out before. I will.