A co-worker told me I was right today, and I wish I was wrong.
We got one of the last paychecks of the year. We also got an e-mail explaining that our checks would reflect the 2014 health and dental insurance rates as our employer pays a month in advance. Merry Christmas to us.
If my situation is typical, our health insurance now costs $40 more a paycheck ($80 a month, $960 a year). Our co-pays and deductibles have also increased.
My co-worker said that I predicted this situation five years ago.
This should have been obvious to anybody who can do math and understands basic economics. If 30 million more people are supposed to purchase or otherwise receive health insurance, and the number of insurers and health professionals doesn’t increase, then the cost of health insurance and health care will go up. It’s called the law of supply and demand, a law that no government policy can eliminate. Also, if health insurance is supposed to provide more “free” services, whether we want them or not (my household receives invitations to join the AARP; we don’t need free birth control), those requirements also increase the cost.
The government has decided that we must purchase those services as part of my insurance whether we want them or not. Apparently, we’re too stupid to figure out what we need our health insurance to pay for.
The government has also decided that it doesn’t matter that my insurance premiums increase. They can decide better how I can spend that not quite $1000 a year than I can.
This has been the progressives’ attitude regarding mandatory health insurance for decades. When Hillary Clinton was pushing Hillarycare in the early ’90s, she remarked, “We just think people will be too focused on saving money and they won’t get the care for their children and themselves that they need.”* Government always knows better than the citizen. It has to make these decisions for us.
Obama sold the Affordable Care Act (appreciate the irony?) as a way to “bend the cost curve down.” The average American family, he said, would save an average of $2500 a year in health insurance premiums. President Obama was either lying or clueless when he repeatedly declared those savings as fact.
However, since we’re too stupid to know what health insurance we need, we need to leave those decisions in the hands of people who either have lied to us or don’t understand health care economics.
I still wish I was wrong. But if I was, and the insurance premiums went down, the progressives would see a better way to spend that money than we could. They would need to raise our taxes because, as 1990s Hillary Clinton said, “The money has to go to the federal government because the federal government will spend that money better.”
*Thanks for the quote, Holman Jenkins and George Will.