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Tuesday, November 19, 2013 you build it, they will come?

We all remember the story about Bush the elder's supposed amazement at seeing a bar code scanner used in a department store. The story was gleefully repeated as prima facie evidence that the president had no insight into the lives of ordinary Americans. Becoming isolated from the general public is always a risk for career politicians and how Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi deluded themselves and the American public into thinking they were cutting edge ought to be a subject for historical inquiry. Indeed, they were allied with the new tech savvy president whose sole bona fides as such consisted of his ability to use a goddam telephone. Admittedly, the BlackBerry still had some sex appeal in 2009 but being able to text message is a rather low standard for computer literacy.
Why did, not once, during the raging debate on Obamacare did one person ask why the nation employed hundreds of thousands if not millions of insurance agents? Was it because career politicians such as Reid and Pelosi had never had to shop for their own insurance? They, like most Americans, belonged to a group plan that was selected for them by people who knew what they were doing and they assumed, wrongly, that insurance just sold itself. They built, or more accurately, are attempting to build an online health exchange using the Field of Dreams model. If you build it they will come.
Having had to select and purchase my own health insurance, I can tell you that the process is every bit as mind numbing as filling out a long form tax return. There were visits to the insurance agency, in my case an independent agent. There were conversations about deductibles, co-pays, maximums, and a plethora of arcane minutia. There was, in my case a physical, before all health risks except smoking were deemed irrelevant since everyone would be paying a premium that assumed they were sickly. It was not easy and it was not enjoyable but unlike the young who are essential to the success of Obamacare I had to do it and they do not.
The authors of Obamacare and the imbeciles who voted for it chose to ignore insurance actuarial data that did not fit their model. There is a very low probably that a young healthy person needs their damn policy. Rather than face that fact they included the individual mandate but set the penalty at a politically acceptable level too low the ensure compliance. To help the chronically stupid the Obama HHS hired navigators to guide people through the selection process. Does anyone really think the guy who was shaking down land lords at the behest of squatters last month actually learned the insurance business to the point he can give a would be insurance purchaser any advice that cannot be gleaned from a Google search? In essence Obamacare co-opted the entire insurance industry except the marketing divisions. The assumption that insurance would sell itself is the prime flaw in Obamacare and it will be its undoing.

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