With states, including North Dakota, resisting the implementation of Obamacare health insurance exchanges the Obama administration has decided to engage in a little re-branding. They now want to call the exchanges “health insurance marketplaces.”
Health Insurance Marketplace, or just Marketplace, has replaced “exchanges” in how HHS now refers to a key and soon-to-go-into-effect provision of the 2010 healthcare reform law.
On a website managed by HHS, www.healthcare.gov, Marketplace is prominently featured as the online portal where uninsured, low-income individuals will be able to use health care reform law-authorized government premium subsidies to purchase coverage from participating insurers. Small employers also will be able to purchase coverage from the marketplaces for their employees.
This is clearly an attempt to dress up the mechanism through which the government will control the insurance market in the language of free enterprise, which Americans will no doubt found more appealing. At least in a superficial way. But this doesn’t change the fact that these exchanges are anything but marketplaces.
Marketplaces exist where willing sellers and willing buyers are allowed to reach mutually agreed upon decisions on the prices of goods and services. What Obamacare has created are rules which control the insurance market, dictating what sort of policies buyers can consider and what sort of coverage insurers can provide and at what price.
Marketplaces are organic. They are what exists when goods and services are allowed to flow freely. Government cannot create a marketplace. Governments can only limit, tax or regulate the marketplace. Which is what Obamacare is doing, though the Obama administration wants to avoid that reality through Orwellian tweaks in language.