Saturday, November 25, 2017


I have all of the microeconomic models of insurance burned into my head from when I was a graduate student because...they were pretty hard! I had to study a lot! The math of economics was always...well, let's say, a few inches from my fingertips. I managed, but barely. Funny how these things sink in over time. I'd be lost on the mechanics of advanced math at this point, but I get it intuitively much more than I did then. On those occasions I do look at something really mathy I actually get the point now, even if I couldn't replicate the steps myself to save my life.

Anyway, back to the insurance mandate. It isn't necessary. Health insurance is not auto insurance (and, let's be clear, auto insurance mandates are actual mandates, not Sunsteiny nudges). The mandate concept is based on the idea that without it young healthy people won't buy insurance. Okay, sure, there are some of those, because young people have broken brains and forget to tie their shoes sometimes. They also forget to file their taxes and sign up for health care and... anyway, you get the point. It's irresponsibility and complexity that leads to young people not buying health insurance, not a supposedly rational examination of their economic choices. To put it another way, make our health care system simpler stupid. That's the barrier, not young healthy people who don't think spending money on health insurance is worth it. Adverse selection, blah blah blah. This is your life. Make it easy and sort of affordable and sort of worthwhile and people will buy the damn insurance.

That the mandate is bad politics is dumb, but that the mandate is thought to be necessary is also dumb. And if the mandate is "necessary" the mandate is the stupidest way to, well, mandate that people buy insurance. It isn't a mandate. It's a fine. That's really stupid.