All Commentary
Monday, February 22, 2010

Big Insurance Wins One from Obama

Barack Obama this morning unveiled his plan for overhauling the health insurance industry in an effort to get the stalled legislative process going again. The bill was just posted on the White House website (Putting Americans in Control of Their Health Care” [!]). Here’s the first detail to jump out, according to the Wall Street Journal:

The proposal increases penalties on business that fail to insure their workers and individuals who fail to get health insurance, as would be required under the new law. [Emphasis added.]

This is important because the insurers have been concerned that in earlier bills, the penalty for individuals who don’t obey the government order to buy  insurance would is so low that people would find it cheaper to pay the fine than to pay the premium. How are the companies to get all those new captive customers with a weak penalty? they wanted to know.

Apparently they won’t have to worry about that anymore.

Next time Obama publicly demonizes Big Insurance, don’t fall for the show. They are all in bed together when it comes to fundamentals.

  • Sheldon Richman is the former editor of The Freeman and a contributor to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. He is the author of Separating School and State: How to Liberate America's Families and thousands of articles.