If You Like Your Insurance, You Can Rent It... Maybe
The main reason I left the insurance industry years ago was the fatigue of marketing a product that is misunderstood by the vast majority of its customer base, not to mention the majority of functionaries inside the industry. I was a lousy agent frankly, but for some reason, the concepts were very intuitive to me. I was the high scorer in of all of those licensing and continuing-ed type classes, but those don't pay the bills, so for reasons of money and sanity, I left.
Alas, this escape was only temporary, as we all now live in a country where the industry is being seized by a president who remains totally oblivious to its realities. Yet he insists on occupying the position as grand poobah CEO of all of it, and ruling by edict. And his epic "fix" can be translated this way:
If you like your coverage, you can rent it. Maybe.
There are so many problems with what he said, it's hard to know where to start -- so let's start with the absurdity of a one-year fix. That's no fix. Even terminal cancer caregivers score being "fixed" in terms of a five-year survival. Besides, Obama's 29 public pronouncements that you can "keep your insurance" were never mitigated with a "sell by" date. He hasn't fixed Obamacare, and in fact, he hasn't even fixed his "incorrect promise" by this. That promise depends, I guess, on what the meaning of "period" is.
And let's consider this startling confession from the smartest man, the man with the sharpest pant crease -- the most brilliant man to ever sit in the Oval Office -- or for that matter, trod the soil of this humble planet: "What we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy."
Shazam! Who knew?
How in the name of teleprompter malfunctions did he let that slip out? Or did he think he was delivering breaking news? We are now five years beyond his arrogant insistence that he and his Washington wizards are the only people in the cosmos astute enough to fix this supposedly broken system. Yet they are just now finding out that buying this stuff is hard? I have more breaking news for them: if you think buying it is complicated, think about designing it, getting it approved by fifty state commissions, funded, priced, printed, staffed, and marketed. It's like buying anything, like say a car, laptop, or a big screen. These can all be complicated to buy, yet they are infinitely more complicated to build and sell! (I won't even go into the green eyeshade subject of re-insurance capacity, but trust me, it is a complicating factor for companies -- and well above Obama's pay grade of comprehension.)
These complications, by the way, are why this little "fix" won't work. You can't just wave the magic wand of the munificent dictator and reconstitute programs that your law has spent five years and million words of capricious and arbitrary regulation deigning illegal. Obama is channeling Rosanne Rosannadanna here: "Never mind."
Except, we can only "never mind" for a year. Oh, and while we're on the subject of next year, think about all the new pre-existing condition cases Obama is creating with this. Huh? Oh yes. Everyone who is healthy today, but will be diagnosed with a condition in the next year, will emerge as an entirely new universe of uninsured saps with pre-existing conditions. Statistically, this will be millions of people.
We are cancelling New Coke. You can now go back to Coke Classic. For a year.
It's too bad that understanding what the hell you are doing was not a pre-existing condition for anyone who helped design this train wreck! As Brit Hume famously tweeted, Obamacare is not insuring the uninsured, it's uninsuring the insured. Perhaps Brit would have contemplated this preordained consequence back when he was championing Justice Robert's Obamacare decision, but that's another column.
But beyond that, let's consider just a bit of human nature. Any one-year only insurance agreement -- with no chance of extension -- is just an invitation for customers to try and screw their insurer -- and for insurers to play hardball. Why not? No one washes a rental car, and no one paints a rental house. There is zero incentive for customers to keep costs down or for companies to pay grey-area claims. Only the dynamic of long-term free market relationships bring about such motivations.
This rather pedestrian concept is the very foundation of how and why free markets are the most efficient way, and the most compassionate way, to apportion any good or service. It aligns everyone to swim in the same direction.
Let me quote my good friend Mark Levin on high-minded liberals who know what's good for us: "Utopians always misapprehend human nature." Let me put that in terms that Ed and Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- of the Sergeant Schultzes -- can understand: You liberals KNOW NUHH-think!
And yet, they insist, by way of Obama, that this law is fabulous and that they are still the ones to fix it, if those rascally terrorist Republicans would but quit sabotaging it. I'm not sure how being absolutely right about everything for five years equals sabotage exactly, but I suppose it fits with the theme of the day, which was complete incoherence and total fabrication on every single point. The press conference was such a disaster that it did nothing to allay fears by Democrats in the Senate facing re-election, and is drawing scorn and derision from Jurassic media outlets who are becoming increasingly embarrassed that Obama is their champion. Well, he is.
To whom I say, if you like your pre-existing 2010, you can keep your 2014.
The author is frequent contributor to American Thinker, ex-insurance executive, and has written widely on the problems with Obamacare since 2009