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Dept. of Perverse Incentives

7:20 AM, Feb 21, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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There is a lot about Obamacare that can stimulate awe. Not least the fact that it turns the concept of "insurance" on its head. Imagine if you could buy automobile insurance after you had totaled your car. Or life insurance after the doctor tells you that it is time to get your affairs in order.

It now seems that Obamacare has midwifed an entirely unlikely alliance:

Big tobacco companies and anti-cancer activists are standing in opposition to a part of the Affordable Care Act that allows insurance companies to charge smokers 50 percent more than patients who do not use tobacco.

Seems the higher premiums will act as a disincentive to smokers many of whom will choose to pay the penalty for going uninsured.  If (more likely "when") they get sick … well, they can purchase the "insurance" then, since the law does not allow denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions.  The premiums paid by the already ill smokers will, most likely, not cover the costs of their care.  These will be picked up by the people who did buy coverage.

But Obamacare does not discriminate.  One way or another, it stiffs everyone. 

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