Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What terrifies Republicans . . .

. . . is of course that the Affordable Care Act will be successful. That's why they keep trying, impotently, to tear it down like a dog gnawing on granite. While I am constitutionally loath to peer into the crystal ball, it certainly seems that the early signs are favorable. Premiums in California turn out to be generally affordable, and now New York has generated an even better headline: the price of health insurance on the individual market will fall by about half.

This may seem like sorta, kinda the opposite of what you may have heard about the effect of the ACA in general -- that it will actually make health insurance more expensive for young, healthy people -- but the explanation is what's so great about this for prospects of getting through to people who are unclear on the concept (which is 90% of the population).

New York State is unusual in that it already has guaranteed issue, but, obviously, without the individual mandate. That makes it a perfect experiment that shows why the individual mandate is necessary and good. Right now, New York state has 2.8 million people with no health insurance, and only 17,000 (that's right, only 3 zeroes) who have purchased policies on the individual market. The reason is they're much too expensive for almost everybody, because of adverse selection, i.e. the only people who buy them are people who are sick enough that it's worth their while paying the exorbitant premium. Insurance companies, expecting an influx of new customers who are less expensive to insure, therefore are cutting their prices. Lots of people will be eligible for federal subsidies to buy those cheaper products, so it will be well worth their while even if they are on the young and healthy side.

That's the whole idea, folks. Yes, you may feel you'd rather not buy health insurance right now because you're invulnerable, but by making people like you buy it now, we make sure you'll be able to afford it when you need it. That's the point of insurance -- to spread risk, and make everybody more secure. Sure, there will be glitches, especially in the states whose governments aren't cooperating, and the corporate media will blow them way out of proportion. But if people's actual experience is good (and for most people, nothing will change), maybe the 2014 mid-terms will turn out differently from what people are expecting.

1 comment:

Don Quixote said...

"Republican" somehow has become a thinking disorder. It used to mean a certain political party. I suppose this is a result of the sound chamber of lies created by Fox network and its minions. Alternate reality is bizarre when it occurs in entire populations . . . it's like Jim Jones times 1,000. Sheesh.