January 18 2013
Just Words? HHS Replaces "Exchange" with "Marketplace"
Just a few weeks ago, I penned an article for Forbes.com called "President Obama's Exchanges Are Mistakes, Not Markets." Mainly, I wrote the article out of frustration with the mainstream media, who, out of a misunderstanding of economics or an intentional bias toward the President, began wrongly referring to the ObamaCare exchanges as "markets" or "marketplaces."
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services changed its Web site to reflect an official change in terminology. The government will now refer to these bureaucracies as markets.
They aren't marketplacess because they don't have any characteristics of a market: no free entry and exit (plans must be "qualified" by the state), no voluntary cooperation (mandates on both the buyer and seller), no prices to reflect supply and demand (government tells insurers how to price plans), no competition (smaller insurers will be driven out of the market, and kept out), and no choice for consumers (the government says what's the in plan, and you have to buy it!).
Under ObamaCare, a mandate means a tax, "access" means it's free, and now, a "marketplace" is a government-operated bureacracy designed to tax, subsidize, and monitor the employment and insurance status of all citizens.
I can't make this stuff up.
Mr. President, don't tell me words don't matter.