When the Government Faces Healthcare Reality

Put aside aspersions against health insurers, whether for-profit or (ahem) non-profit, because it simply isn’t credible to assume that government bureaucrats won’t be corrupt and selfish. What, then, will the government response be when it faces these forces as a (or the) national healthcare financier:

“We understand that many of our members are suffering in the current economic conditions, but the fact is that rising medical costs and increased utilization of services are climbing faster than our rates,” James E. Purcell, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Quite frankly, the OHIC [Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner] is putting the state’s oldest nonprofit health insurer at financial risk by denying our filing. We simply cannot afford to lose $125 million.”

Cost controls. Service limitations. Tax increases. The government can’t make human nature what it is not, and it cannot mandate an end to market forces. What it can do is jail those who don’t follow its instructions, so people will try to play along, no matter how detrimental certain policies are.

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