Yesterday, I noted how President Obama was laying the groundwork to blame insurers for the premium increases that will naturally result from his new health care law. While ObamaCare forces insurers to justify rate increases deemed “unreasonable,” it stopped short of directly setting rates. This was a major disappointment to the New York Times, which lamented in an editorial today that, “Unfortunately, the reform law did not give the federal government the power to regulate premiums.”
It’s amazing enough that the Times‘ editors still believe in discredited economic theories like price fixing — as if the government declaring that something should cost x, doesn’t have adverse market ramifications. But in this case, it’s even more incredible. The health care law forces insurers to offer more extensive coverage. So how do you force a business into offering a more expensive product, and then force them not to raise the price? I wonder how the Times editors would feel if the government passed a law saying that they had to pay a new industry-wide newspaper tax, had to have more articles, more sections, more color — and then couldn’t increase the cost of subscriptions, purchasing the paper at the newsstand, or ad rates.