Avik Roy of Forbes has never been what you’d call a fan of Obamacare. Now, however, he’s calling the mandated insurance program “lawless” and “unconstitutional.” Why?
The White House—having canceled Americans’ old health plans, and having botched the system for enrolling people in new ones—knows that millions of Americans will enter the new year without health coverage. So instead of actually fixing the problem, the administration is retroactively attempting to force insurers to hand out free health care—at a loss—to those whom the White House has rendered uninsured. If Obamacare wasn’t a government takeover of the health insurance industry, then what is it now?
Roy says that the Department of Health and Human Services has given insurers a directive: “provide free or discounted care to those who have become uninsured because of the problems with healthcare.gov.”
One of the problems facing Obamacare is that the system, while allowing some folks to sign up, still hasn’t figured out how to allow people to pay for the insurance their getting. With little or no money in the pot, so to speak, the government is asking insurers to kindly consider offering free health care. Of course, the government is being neither kind nor considerate; Roy likens their actions to Mafia-like “protection money” tactics. The government has made many mistakes with healthcare.gov, and somebody has to pay. But, Roy points out, it won’t be insurance companies; it will be you.
…the cost of paying for those mistakes won’t end up being paid by insurers, but by consumers, in the form of higher premiums.
In theory, the Obama administration’s actions aren’t merely illegal—they’re unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights says that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
But it will be up to insurers to sue to protect their rights. Like battered wives, they are unlikely to do so. Companies like Aetna and Humana are so terrified that the administration will run them out of business that they are more likely to do what they’re told, and quietly pass the costs on to consumers.