Blinder Strikes Again

Professor Alan Blinder (Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University) opened his Wall Street Journal op-ed, this time, with a correct statement.

But a badly designed website doesn’t signify a badly designed policy.  The goals, principles and major design features of the ACA are barely affected by the government’s health-exchange website catastrophe.  If you liked the basic ideas before, you still should.  If you didn’t, you still shouldn’t.

True enough, the ObamaMart Web site is just the front end of Obamacare (it’s also the back end, handling all of your personal financial and medical history and doing so in an enormously error-prone fashion and so far with no security at all—security has never been seriously tested), it is not Obamacare itself.

But from here, as is usual with Blinder, it’s all downhill.  First is his typically Progressive dishonesty in his characterization of those who oppose Obamacare:

…the enemies of health-care reform are telling [Americans] that ObamaCare is a failure.

Of course, because Obamacare is the only way to reform the health insurance industry (which Blinder also dishonestly conflates with health care).  It couldn’t possibly be that there are other ways to achieve reform, like the half-dozen, or so, House offerings that reform through patient-centric—that is to say, individual American-centric—market solutions.  No, Progressives know that Americans are too stupid to make their own decisions.

Then he gets to his point:

The three central elements of ObamaCare are insurance reform, getting (most of) the uninsured covered, and containing the upward spiral in medical-care costs.  Each remains in place.

He sees this as a plus, not the failure that it is.  Sad.  In turn:

There is no insurance reform, only the destruction (leaving aside its nationalization) of the insurance industry.  The price of an “insurance” policy now is completely divorced form the risk being “insured.”  The young are being required to pay inflated prices for policies they do not need, generally do not want, and cannot afford solely and explicitly to pay for the depressed prices the old otherwise would pay.  Single men and empty nesters are being required to purchase prenatal and maternity coverage, children’s dental coverage, even contraceptive coverage (as if this commodity wants “insurance” coverage at all) so that women, in particular, and families generally, who might actually…benefit…from such policies can pay lower rates for them.  The list goes on.  This isn’t insurance, it’s naked wealth redistribution.  Even when there’s no wealth to redistribute.

“Getting most of the uninsured covered?”  That wasn’t the original promise; that started out being “all of the uninsured.”  Whether we wanted the insurance or not.  Aside from that, it’s not even coming close to getting all covered, because of Blinder’s third point:

Costs, of this health welfare program, anyway, are spiraling rapidly out of control.  The premiums available already are well documented to be in the two- and three-digit per centages higher—and that’s just for the premiums.  Deductibles are skyrocketing.  These are costs that have to be paid by the “insuree” before his coverage kicks in.  And it resets every year, while those premiums and the costs of being sick just keep on keepin’ on.

And there’s Blinder’s cynical non sequitur:

Millions of people under the age of 26 are already benefiting by being kept on their parents’ policies.


To make universal coverage work, the government needs to bring [young people] into the insurance pool as counterweights to the high-risk people.

Meaning that millions of the young folks Obamacare so desperately needs to buy “insurance” so as to fund artificially low premiums for the rest aren’t buying “insurance;” they’re just jacking up the cost of their parents’ “insurance.”  How does that work, exactly, Alan?  How are these “millions of people under the age of 26” being brought “into the insurance pool as counterweights?”

And his bodice-rending closer:

[T]he status quo ante was so unacceptable.  America cannot be a humane society if we leave 15% of our population uninsured.  America cannot be an efficient society if we spend 50% to 100% more of our incomes on health care than other countries, and yet don’t get better health outcomes.  We can’t let a botched website get in the way of goals that big.

Unfortunately, Progressives like Blinder remain in the way, actively blocking market solutions and individual choice (we’re too stupid to be trusted with our own choices, remember) that actually would bring down the costs of true insurance on the one hand and the costs of health care on the other.  And leave a significant per centage of us without health insurance because that’s our choice.

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