Union: Health insurance is eating our raises!So much for bending the cost curve. So much for a public option, or for single payer.
Mgmt: Health insurance is eating our budget!
Insurance Company (in the corner): Nom nom nom nom (burp) nom nom nom (chair collapses) nom nom nom
The catastrophic cost -- and rate of increase -- of health insurance is the 800 pound gorilla of higher ed finance. It’s the primary driver behind adjunctification. It’s increasing faster than any of our revenue sources, and it seems to be picking up steam. In negotiation sessions, it’s the sun around which every other issue orbits.Substantively, the insurance companies have to quote rates based on the adverse selection that's enabled by the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, wherein people can avoid buying insurance until they get sick, then they buy coverage, and their risk management people have to calculate that tolerably well, or they go broke. With single payer, risk management becomes wishful thinking. Oops. But I appreciate the candor: it's not just the Pajamas Media crazies that see the 29 hour loophole at work diminishing the tenure-track faculty, whether at the community colleges or at the Ivies.
(For those keeping score at home, that makes it a nuclear fusion powered 800 pound gorilla that knows how to drive a steam-powered car, and anchors a series of satellites. Scary stuff.)
Metaphorically, we're not dealing with that 800 pound gorilla, it's more like a sarlacc in the Pit of Carkoon, but with a faster metabolism. Greece didn't take 500 years to succumb to blue social model benefits.
The reckoning is coming for the United States.
Postwar prosperity made the system tenable long enough for it to start to seem natural, but it never really made sense. Now we’re seeing the flaws in the system get so large that they start to deform or consume other sectors of the economy. Prospective entrepreneurs don’t start companies because they can’t afford to pay for their own health insurance. Employers everywhere pay careful attention to maximum hours for part-time status, because the marginal cost of going over is prohibitive. If you don’t believe me, ask your HR office what the monthly premium for COBRA is.Yes, in many ways, that postwar prosperity worked as a resource curse. And the Conrail Option will mean a longer bumpy ride, and it will break. Badly. More badly than the current bodge. And on current trends, a President Hillary and a Democrat Congress will own the wreckage.
Locally, we managed to piece together a deal that puts off the day of reckoning for a few more years. I’m glad we did -- really, really glad we did -- but the basic underlying trendlines are still there. That’s not something we can solve locally. That requires a national solution. Absent that, I foresee the rides getting bumpier and bumpier until something breaks.
And they'll deserve it. Here's National Review's Kevin Williamson, correctly pointing out that "These idiots thought this would work."
The terrifying fact is that the architects of Obamacare thought they could brazen their way through this, that they were so smart that they could tell you rubes whatever it was you needed to hear to get the bill passed and then just fly by the seat of their pants, fixing everything on the fly in a grand display of enlightened technocratic adhocracy.And if the Democrat-Academic-Media-Entertainment Complex get their way, the adhocracy will own the failure. Recall the political maneuvering by which the two lies for the price of one became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the first place. Don't expect much sympathy from me if Mrs Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House and she has to deal with what's in it. Gutting a tauntaun to keep warm might be a more appealing option.
At The Federalist, David Harsanyi expects Democrats will learn no such lesson.
Republicans can let the law, which Democrats still solely own, die. They can then reform the health-care system by allowing it to function more like every other successful market in the country — with minimal interference from politicians. Or we can all accept a giant unfunded liability, higher taxes, and further socialization of our health-care system. The only question will be: how quickly.Yes, and they'll continue to subscribe to the grand fiction of living at the expense of everyone else, at least until more of their voters wake up to the reality that the sarlacc is slowly digesting them.
There’s one thing for sure: no matter what happens, liberal cheerleaders of Obamacare will continue to act as if the law was an awe-inspiring success.