December 7, 2013

JAMES TARANTO: Indemnity! Whiskey! Sexy! Will young adults greet ObamaCare insurance salesmen as liberators?

This column has made the point before that there are three phases of the ObamaCare catastrophe. Phase 1, the technical failure, might have been avoided had the administration had some basic standards of competence. But Phases 2 and 3 are inherent in the law.

Phase 2 was the revelation that the ObamaCare enterprise is the most massive consumer fraud in American history–that the “if you like your plan, you can keep it” sales pitch was not only false but deliberately deceptive, and also that ObamaCare forces insurance companies to engage in dishonest practices such as selling maternity coverage to men and postmenopausal women.

Politico notes that the combination of Phases 1 and 2 has created a new way for ObamaCare to fail: “Health care experts say, it’s not out of the question that the Obama administration could face the worst-case scenario on Jan. 1: the number of uninsured Americans actually goes up.” (This columnist is not an expert, but we raised the possibility a month ago.)

Assuming that the politics of ObamaCare remain static–that is, assuming Senate Democrats continue to fear the president more than they fear their constituents–Phase 3 will develop over the coming months. Phase 3 is the demonstration that even if the system is technically functional and the fraud impervious to redress, ObamaCare is economically unviable because of adverse selection: Americans who stand to benefit from the law’s price controls, the old and the sick, will buy insurance in large numbers, while those who get hit by them, the young and the healthy, will not.

The shrunken but still substantial subset of the press corps that remains servile to the Obama agenda has been devoting a lot of attention of late to denying Phases 1 and 2–assuring that the “website” is working fine and that all those fraud victims will find satisfactory recompense in ObamaCare policies. But Ryan Cooper, a protegé of the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, is getting out ahead of the story. He’s already denying Phase 3.

Read the whole thing.

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