Gee, Thanks, Mr. President

by John Hood

Well, it’s official: President Obama has destroyed my health plan and those of two dozen of my employees.

Several media outlets are reporting this morning that Principal Financial, which sells health plans to the John Locke Foundation and nearly a million Americans, will exit the health-insurance marketplace. The company is responding to the new costs and incentives created by Obamacare, which (of course) favor large firms over smaller competitors, as the New York Times explains:

At the Principal Financial Group, the company’s decision reflected its assessment of its ability to compete in the environment created by the new law. “Now scale really matters,” said Daniel J. Houston, a senior executive at Principal, which is headquartered in Des Moines. “We don’t have a significant concentration in any one market.”

United HealthCare is reportedly going to offer health plans to former Principal subscribers, including me, but we have no idea what those plans will look like. As competition shrinks, they’ll certainly be more expensive and less flexible. At JLF, we had carefully designed two consumer-driven options — one based around health savings accounts and the other around health reimbursement accounts — and experienced excellent results, including several years of nearly level premiums. Now, we’ll just have to see what administration ideologues and federal bureaucrats will permit us to purchase.

All the more reason why we and other Americans are not simply going to comply with a federal takeover of the health-care market. Litigation, agitation, and legislation are in store.

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