There is a lot of talk about forcing insurance companies to insure folks with pre-existing conditions. Never mind that this just isn’t the way insurance works; it’s also likely to have a disastrous, if unintended, consequence. John R. Graham, a health expert at the Pacific Research Institute, notes:

Let’s presume that the government isn’t actually going to jail anyone for not buying health insurance. Considering the health-insurance “reforms” that will require insurers to cover anyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, the rational course of action for anyone is to drop coverage, pay the fine, and then re-enroll in a health plan once you need medical care, which is what happened in Massachusetts.


What is so distressing about all this is that, with incremental changes to the health care system (tort reform, letting insurers sell across state lines, etc.), we could extend the benefits of the US splendid health care to millions more, without such horrendous, unintended consequences.

But this massive reconfiguring of our economy, this fundamental change, as promised by President Barack Obama, is fraught with peril. It has less to do with fixing health care than transforming the American system.