Democrats cry that the study is flawed. They say it didn't take into account things like subsidies. The authors of the study acknowledge that they didn't take subsidies into account. Their point is that the unsubsidized cost of insurance will rise considerably, as everyone who thinks through the math has realized already. And since subsidies amount to taxing the money from some people to give it to others, the subsidy doesn't change the cost, just who pays it.
Recall that the Democrats have periodically demonized health insurance providers to make their case. This was a clever, if cynical, political move. No one likes their insurance company. Premiums are always too high, payouts are always too low, and you have to fight like the dickens to get them to give you what you ought to have.
Well, that's natural. Insurance companies have to stay solvent, and they can't do that by charging premiums that don't cover their risks or by paying out benefits that exceed covered losses. It's not profits that make insurance companies that way: mutual companies operate without paying dividends to shareholders, and they're no more loved than for-profit companies. It's simple arithmetic that makes them mean.
And that's just as true when the government runs the show. Eventually--as the present budget mess reminds us--even government must live by the math.
So, back to the beginning: it's acutely obvious that giving more stuff to more people will cost more. There is no magic bank of "waste and abuse" that can be instantly tapped to make up the difference. And there's only so much of other people's money to pay for all this.
While we're rambling, we'll note again what makes this matter especially difficult. Health insurance is different from property insurance. There's a clear limit to the value of my car or house. But as far as I'm concerned, my health and life are priceless. My insurance company is justified in paying out only what my car is worth if it's totaled. But if they put a price on my life, well, I'm going to be pretty angry. And I won't care whether it's Blue Cross or Humana or Health and Human Services that does that.
This, by the way, is not to say that nothing will be right until we can spend everything we want to spend on healthcare. It is a grim reminder that what's wrong with the system is that you can't always get what you want, especially if you expect a third party to pay for it.
Back to the study. We think this is another death knell for ObamaCare. To quote the Gray Lady:
The vehemence of the reaction from the White House and Congressional Democrats also reflects a concern about public opinion. If millions of people with insurance conclude that their premiums will go up, that could undermine chances for passage of comprehensive legislation.
Yep. The majority of folk like what they've got and will fight like demons to make sure it doesn't cost them more. This is another indication that the end of the line is near.