So far, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has attempted to have it both ways. On the one hand he insists that he supports the notion of health care reform. On the other hand, he insists on joining a lawsuit seeking to rule unconstitutional a provision without which the entire reform effort would collapse.
Let’s be clear, without the insurance mandate, the main provisions of the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the elimination of exclusions for preexisting conditions, and the common practice of “rescission” once policyholders get sick — would be entirely unworkable.
Why? Well, if there is no mandate that you purchase insurance, yet insurance companies couldn’t reject you due to preexisting conditions, then it would be in your economic self-interest to only purchase insurance once you got sick. And with only sick people paying premiums, the premiums would be unaffordable.
So without the requirement that you or your employer purchase private insurance, there can be only two alternatives. Either rescission and pre-existing conditions remain a prominent feature of our health insurance system, or we move to a single payer system in which government is the sole insurer, and there is no private insurance to be mandated.
Considering his recent public embrace of the Teabaggers, it’s hard to imagine McKenna endorsing the latter, so I can only assume his supposedly principled opposition to the recently passed bill implies support for the former. By filing this lawsuit, Rob McKenna is inherently defending the rights of insurance companies to deny you coverage, either by excluding pre-existing conditions, or by searching for technicalities with which to justify cancelation of your policy once you get sick.
And… well… as a Democrat, I sure hope he runs on that in 2012.