2011 March 31 Thursday
Health Reform Law Makes Many Kids Uninsurable

The New York Times reports how the Obamacare health insurance legislation (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA) has the perverse effect of making large numbers of children medically uninsurable.

Insurers in Texas and across the nation protesting a provision of the 2010 federal health care overhaul that prohibits pre-existing condition limitations for children under 19, have simply stopped offering new child-only policies. For children being raised by their grandparents, who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid and have no employer-offered insurance or family plans to cover them, there are few options.

The (obvious) problem is that if you can get medical insurance at any time why not save money and just wait to buy it once you develop a serious ilness? But the impractical idealists who voted for Obamacare wanted to make everyone equal. So they've made uninsurable any child whose parents do not get dependent medical insurance thru their jobs.

One of the results: decreased labor mobility. Parents won't be able to quit jobs to start their own businesses or to do more highly paid contract work when doing so will leave their kids uninsured. Congress is such a wrecking crew.

A few state legislatures are making a bad situation even worse by requiring any insurance company that offers medical insurance policies to adults to also offer policies for children. Of course this is an incentive for more insurance companies to drop out of the individual health insurance market altogether.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 March 31 11:03 PM  Economics Health

Black Death said at April 1, 2011 6:56 AM:

There's no free lunch, in insurance or anywhere else. When Congress and the state legislatures create mandates, somebody's got to pay for them. Insurance companies typically respond by raising the price for everyone or dropping what has become an unprofitable line of coverage. Your story mentions that one idiot legislator (a Democrat, naturally, although the Republicans aren't much better) wants to force insurance companies doing business in Texas to provide coverage for children. This is a good way to drive insurers out of Texas, and it will compel those remaining in the state to raise prices.

no i don't said at April 1, 2011 12:50 PM:

I don't care if it's labeled "Socialism", but a government's duty is to provide free medical care and education for its citizens, even though there could also be private hospitals and schools, sure.

And yes, by free education I mean also higher education, university; not only elementary, middle and high school. Many, many countries far poorer than the U.S. provide that with high quality.

Is that too Socialist?

Thanks said at April 1, 2011 4:27 PM:

"I don't care if it's labeled "Socialism", but a government's duty is to provide free medical care and education for its citizens, even though there could also be private hospitals and schools, sure."

Awesome. I say we cut out the middle man Fed and you send the $ right to me. I take credit cards as well.

RX said at April 1, 2011 9:06 PM:

The litmus test should always be, is the market elastic or not. Buying toothpaste is elastic, because if one brand is not on the shelf, then you can buy another. Water and wastewater would be inelastic, because there is usually only one supplier.

Healthcare for the most part is elastic. If you don't want a certain doctor, then others are available. Therefore, market mechanisms can and should be applied to healthcare. Wherever markets are inelastic, it is best done by government or it should be heavily regulated. Nuclear Power Plants are inelastic, and demand is pretty constant, so they should be heavily regulated or government owned.

In the case of Obamacare, inelastic oversight mechanisms (government) are being overlaid onto a market that is inherently elastic. This is equally wrong to the opposite case of Enron. Enron applied elastic market mechanisms to inelastic power. The people of California were better off with regulated rates. Enron manipulated the market for profit, knowing that people would pay up because they had no choice. Obamacare will also force us to have no choice.

With regards to above comments about government's duty, we have ill defined the role of money in our system and this has caused confusion. Money is a fiat of the law, and money issuance power belongs only to the government. Our private banking fractional reserve credit money system has Capital Costs on average of 40%. That means you work about half your life servicing debt. So, yes we can afford to do a lot more, but we first have to fix our money system. Here is a link to the Canadian system that lasted from 1935 to 1974. It takes about 1/2 of the video to get to the debt chart. Notice, that very heavy investment occured during the low/no debt period.


Big Bill said at April 3, 2011 10:34 AM:

But isn't it one of the Democrats' goal to destroy the Evil For-Profit Medical Insurance Industry? I understood their intention was not to supplement the industry, or distribute the risks more evenly, but to shut it down. Not all at once, mind you, (that would trigger great social unrest) but gradually, over a period of time. Say, ten to fifteen years.

Anyway, since the insurance companies are profit-making entities more like investment banks these days, they have little or no incentive to stay in low-margin businesses like insurance anyway.

no i don't said at April 4, 2011 11:46 AM:

"Awesome. I say we cut out the middle man Fed and you send the $ right to me. I take credit cards as well."

Good idea. Let's cut the middle man, 'cause I am alerady sending the $ to you when I pay my taxes. That tax $ we all pay is also for your benefit, -if you are a citizen and require it of course-.

The bulk of the money from the taxes we pay should be enough for free education and medical care for everybody who needs it -as it is in many countries-

But the "government of the people" uses it on war which sucks up a lot more $ than education and medical care.

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