Sheer, shocking incompetence by Congress? Could be. Or it could be the key to the plan to ruin insurance companies by forcing them to take any new customers who are currently inclined to pay, i.e., customers who now have conditions requiring treatment. [AND: Once the insurance companies are ruined, there will be nothing left but the long dreamed-of, single-payer government program.]
What I don't understand, then, is why insurance companies didn't campaign against the reform. They must have understood what was in the offing. (Right?) There must be some explanation for how this thing is supposed to work, otherwise, we'd have been swamped in "Harry and Louise" ads, like last time. Or is there sheer incompetence in private business too? ... in which case, what does it matter if the government takes over everything?
All I can think is that the penalties were there, the insurance companies were lulled, and then the enforcement was yanked out at the last minute, blindsiding them. And yet, even with enforcement of the penalties, the insurance companies faced the obvious risk that people would opt for the penalty — which was comparatively cheap — instead of buying insurance, until they needed treatments that were more expensive than the insurance policy (minus the penalty). The silence of the insurance companies was already a mystery.
A reading for the day: "Silver Blaze," by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.