There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed an Insurance Law by Michael Gorback MD


I recently decided that I despised my health insurance company to the point where I would look for a new policy. Of course, this is the triumph of hope over experience. After all, I am a physician and have witnessed the ravages of health insurers on a daily basis, at the hands of just about every company. I’m a realist; I’m shooting for “less horrible”.

I contacted an insurance salesperson, who informed me that due to the ACA I can’t change policies whenever I want to. I must wait until the enrollment period, which begins on November 15. I am stuck paying premiums to a company I have come to despise until November. If I cancel the policy it will be impossible to get insurance for months.

I will also be breaking the law, should the law ever be enforced.

That’s because under the ACA an insurer can’t refuse you coverage. The myopic meddling morons authors of the ACA erased much of the part of insurance underwriting that estimated risk and charged an appropriate premium to the insured, or flat out refused coverage. It’s really not insurance any more in the traditional sense. Maybe now we should call them “insurance providers” and if you have two policies, e.g. Medicare plus supplemental insurance, Medicare would be called your “Primary Insurance Provider” or PIP. The PIP pays your PCP (Primary Care Provider, because “family doctor” is so 20th Century). But I digress.

As a result there was concern that people would game the system by jumping on and off plans or ratcheting up and down between cheaper and more expensive coverage levels pro re nata (as we say in the medical biz).

In response to that legislature-induced conundrum they created the enrollment period. You can only enroll in a health insurance plan during the enrollment period. There are certain exemptions – such as changing jobs, marriage, divorce, having a baby, etc – but for the most part entering into or severing health insurance contracts between two private parties is now forbidden by the government except during one annual temporal window.

To recap: The authors of the ACA did not want insurance companies to be insurance companies, which begat mandated coverage, which begat gaming the system, which begat enrollment periods, which begat yet another government-generated distortion of free markets by the great farce that is ObamaCare.

It reminds me of the old nursery song,

There was an old lady who swallowed a dog.
My what a hog to swallow a dog
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat…
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird …
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I dunno why she swallowed the fly.

You apply patch after patch after patch in escalating amounts, twisting and turning until you end up with monstrosities like ObamaCare, a road to Hell paved with good intentions. Sometimes I get so distracted dealing with the problems ObamaCare has created it’s hard to remember what problems ObamaCare was intended to solve.

In the song the old lady swallows a horse and dies. The American public also ingested something big in 2010, although arguably it was more of a forced-feeding. Let’s hope we fare a little better than she did.

55860cookie-checkThere Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed an Insurance Law by Michael Gorback MD