Tips for making money from Obamacare (until it goes bankrupt)

If your state hasn’t established an exchange to sell health insurance, consider moving to a state that has. Obamacare says it won’t pay health insurance premiums for residents of states that haven’t established an exchange. The Obama administration has said that it doesn’t matter what the law actually says, but there’s always a chance that the courts will enforce the law as written.

If it’s going to cost you more for health insurance than the penalty for not purchasing a policy, skip the health insurance. After all, insurers will no longer be able to deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. With careful planning, you can even avoid the penalty for not purchasing insurance. All you have to do is claim enough withholding allowances so that you’re never owed a refund. Unlike other tax penalties, the IRS can’t garnish your wages or seize any of your property to collect what you owe. It can only deduct the penalty from any refund you’re due.

These are just a few examples of the perverse financial incentives offered by Obamacare, which has been intentionally or unintentionally designed to fail if people act in their self-interest. For example, if the number taking advantage of subsidies only doubles from the Congressional Budget Office’s 25 million estimate, that will increase the 10-year cost for Obamacare by trillions of dollars.

The bankruptcy of Obamacare won’t bother people (like the president) who’ve always preferred that the government directly provide health care. But those enamored with government-provided health care like Britain’s should read about Britain’s Stafford Hospital, where as many as 1,200 people died needlessly during a three-year period because of care that an investigative commission described as “appalling” (people denied food and water; wrong medications administered; needed medications denied; medical equipment not used because it was broken or no one knew how to operate it; pleas for help ignored). That governmental care was neither competent nor compassionate.

David Gibberman, a lawyer, writes about legal and financial matters for professionals, college students, and the general public.