Gosh, some people just don’t know what’s best for them:
For millions, arranging treatment through cash, barter and charity is still better than paying for insurance. They include Lisa Khechoom of Glendale, Calif., who refuses to buy coverage. She says she pays a flat $35 for a doctor visit and often substitutes prescriptions with cheaper natural remedies for herself, her husband and their children.
“I’m spending money either way, but it’s going to be less,” says the 41-year-old, who runs a telecom-service business with her husband that brings them an annual income of around $77,000. “For the amount of office visits I do make, why pay $3,500 for insurance when I’m not even taking advantage of it? We go to the doctor and we pay for it. Usually I can get a better deal than if I had insurance.”
The law’s penalty for not carrying insurance grows to its maximum next year and will start at $695 for an individual, up from $325 this year. That isn’t enough to sway Ms. Khechoom, who says paying the penalty is still preferable to buying coverage.
Khechoom and her family are exactly the kind of people California’s coverage “exchange” needs more of if it’s ever going to become solvent, as this story from April reminds us:
Unlike some other state exchanges, Covered California hasn’t quite spent all its federal aid; $200 million is being set aside to cover its near-term deficit. But that money isn’t going to last long: The exchange is expecting to end up nearly $80 million in the red this year. According to the Orange County Register, “Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee acknowledged in December that there are questions about the ‘long-term sustainability of the organization.’”
Such questions are not new, the paper observed, pointing out that “a 2013 report by the state auditor … stated that, until the state’s health insurance exchange actually started enrolling Californians in health plans, its ‘future solvency’ was ‘uncertain.’ Thus, Covered California was listed as a ‘high-risk’ issue for the state.”
The Khechooms are healthy, so they won’t take much out of the system, and enjoy an upper-middle class income, so they won’t burden the system with large subsidy payments. Without customers like them, Covered California caters mostly to the older, sicker, and/or poorer — which is no way to get into the black. California has huge structural budget problems which aren’t going away, and ♡bamaCare!!! looks like more of the same for the beleaguered Golden State.
Now take a moment to remember that Covered California is considered by supporters to be one of ♡bamaCare!!!’s success stories.
I would just add that in his arrogance, ♡bamaCare!!! architect Jon Gruber thought he knew just the right carrots and just the right sticks to force square pegs like Khechoom into his one-size-fits-all round holes.
But the fact of the matter is that insurance is simply a bad deal for many families, and they won’t take it. And it just so happens that those are the very same people ♡bamaCare!!! requires to pay up, if it is to work at all.
The math, as I wrote in the comments to an earlier ♡bamaCare!!! post, is a harsh mistress — and nothing the Supreme Court does can change it.