San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

One Bureaucrat's Perspective On The "Free Market"

I opened page two of my morning newspaper yesterday to be treated to the glum news that health insurance premiums are rising by as much as 40% in 2017.  As I read that headline I nodded knowingly to myself and mumbled, under my breath, how it is all a result of Obamacare.  I wondered silently to myself how much my monthly premium is going to rise next year and made a mental note to set aside a couple more thousand dollars to cover the anticipated increase.  I now pay over $1000/month for my policy and I only have an Obamacare Silver plan.
Here is part of what the article had to say, "Individual health care plan premiums could increase significantly in 2017 -- by as much as 40 percent for one insurer -- according to preliminary requests released Monday by the Colorado Division of Insurance.  The requested rates for the small group market reflect greater stability, with mostly single-digit increases and several companies decreasing premiums."  Unfortunately for me, I am in the individual health care plan market, not the small group market.  The article went on to report that, "the requests, which will be reviewed by the insurance division for compliance with state and federal requirements, would not be approved until the fall."  In other words, when insurance companies, operating under the rules and regulations associated with Obamacare, need to raise premiums to remain profitable they must first receive permission from state insurance regulators to do so.  If the regulators, in their infinite wisdom and knowledge of the health insurance market, decide that a premium increase is unwarranted the insurance company has to decide between moving out of the Colorado market or continuing to operate at a loss, eventually going bankrupt.  That is not a very good choice to be forced to make.
The report went on to further report that due to changes in who is going to continue to provide health insurance coverage for the citizens of Colorado, "coverage changes will impact 92,000 people statewide, or about 20 percent of the 450,000 who buy insurance through the individual market....They will need to find new options during open enrollment..."  So once again folks who were promised by our King that they could keep their doctors and that they could keep their current coverage find themselves on the dirty end of the stick.  As a result of the inefficiencies in the socialist health insurance program know as Obamacare, almost 8 percent of the citizens of Colorado will be forced to go out and find new and more expensive coverage in 2017.
All of the above is simply introductory material for what I really want to write about today.  Marguerite Salazar is the Colorado State Insurance Commissioner.  Marguerite is also an air-head and an economic idiot.  That perfectly qualifies her for a position as a career bureaucrat in the state of Colorado.  She is also a woman and, even more powerfully, she is also, if I am interpreting her name correctly, of Hispanic ethnicity.  In other words, Marguerite is entrenched in the bureaucracy forever. They only thing that could make her even more qualified for a job as a civil servant (ha! ha! ha!) would be if she was L,G, B, T, X, Y or Z.
When queried about the outrageous increase in health insurance premiums Maggie, as I like to call her, had a quick and amazingly stupid response.  She said, "In the larger picture, what is taking place is a market correction; the free market is at work.  And it is important to recognize that this is a market correction taking place on a national scale, not just in Colorado."  What?  Did I read that right? What in the world is Maggie trying to say?  Allow me to dissect her statement in what follows.
What "is taking place" in the price of health insurance is not difficult to understand.  When the socialistic rules and regulations surrounding Obamacare are forced upon the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika it is inevitable that government created economic inefficiencies will evolve.  As is always the case with any free market service that is socialized, the cost of the service rises due to those inefficiencies.  The only question relevant to paying for Obamacare is what the ratio will be between the revenues received via premiums forcibly paid and the revenues received from the taxpayers.  In a sense that ratio is in constant flux as various state and federal legislative actions allocate more or less funds from their respective Treasuries to subsidize Obamacare's cost overruns.
Maggie looks at what is happening with the total revenue being generated by health insurance premiums and insanely believes it is an example of the free market in operation.  Maybe Maggie is not aware of these truths but a free market does not mandate that all citizens purchase health insurance, under penalty of law for non-compliance.  A free market does not regulate the premium increases charged by the various insurance companies that provide coverage.  A free market does not determine which company may operate within an arbitrary geo-political boundary.  A free market does not have a state insurance commissioner who must approve all coverage and premium changes.  A free market does not appropriate taxpayer dollars to cover losses in its insurance program.  Nothing that takes place in the health insurance market as it exists today is free.  The entire process is socialized.  Maggie seems incapable of understanding that truth.
Maggie's reference to what is taking place as premiums skyrocket under the administration of Obamacare's rules and regulations as a "market correct" defies understanding.  Using an analogy from the stock market makes no sense whatsoever.  Maggie, in case you are not aware, a market correction is a short term, sentiment driven, decrease in the price of stocks across the board.  The price for health insurance is not experiencing a short term, sentiment driven, decrease.  The price of health insurance is rising dramatically.  How can anyone in her right mind refer to that as a market correction?  Answer:  Maggie is not in her right mind.   She is, after all, a career bureaucrat. 
I suspect Maggie is just like every other career bureaucrat. She knows deep down that what she is doing is wrong and harmful for the citizens of Colorado and she vainly attempts to justify her activities as being somehow beneficial to the citizens of the state.  When the cost of health insurance rises dramatically she knows that it is the result of her own application of the Obamacare regulations to the health insurance market in Colorado that is the cause of those increases, but like every other socialist who has ever drawn a breath she hates the free market and, therefore, attributes the cost increases to the free market rather than to herself.  Good job Maggie.  You are a splendid bureaucrat!

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