A Year Later, the Exchanges Still Stink

This article originally appeared in The Weekly Standard. Click here to read the full article.

By Ike Brannon

One day soon I will presumably receive a notice from the D.C. health exchange informing me how much my family’s health insurance will cost for 2015. That I’ve not yet been made privy to this salient bit of information mere weeks before I have to decide whether to change providers is a function both of the low level of competency that can be expected of any government dabbling in commerce as well as the politicization of the exchanges.

In its first year of existence, the D.C. government’s health exchange has worked much as I anticipated—not very well. It took months to navigate the website to actually purchase insurance, and the communiques from the exchange have ranged from irrelevant to unhelpful to factually incorrect.

However, its existence—more precisely, my ability to buy insurance at a price unaffected by my family’s health status—saved me thousands of dollars and was what allowed me to quit my job and start my own business. But the ability to obtain health insurance at a reasonable price is more than just a boon for me: More broadly, insurance that no longer unduly locks people into jobs could ultimately be beneficial for the economy. Whether the current exchanges manage to achieve this has yet to be determined.