Oh those saintly, sacrificial health insurance companies!

It is the fashion of the Left to rail against Big Business using its influence to get undue power from the government over people. Democrats are, however, disturbingly adroit at crafting legislation to the benefit of Big Business (as, for example, Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney has documented to uncomfortable lengths in his book Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses). You’d expect, therefore, that they would run afoul of leftist raillery.

They clearly don’t, however. It’s a first principle of the Left not to criticize the Democrats. That would weaken them, see, and make Republicans more likely to win elections, whereupon they would craft legislation to the benefit of Big Business that doesn’t benefit the children/save the planet/roll back racism/[insert other hogwash ad misericordiam here].

So what do they do? First, ignore it, which is a rather effective tack since so many members of the media are leftists themselves. Otherwise, they resort to the narrative (also effective for reason supra) that the Big Business has (stately fanfare) Nobly Sacrificed Their Interests for the Common Good.

Politico has an excellent example of the latter tack this morning:

At an event about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act at the Center for American Progress, Gruber responded to a question about health insurers’ business practices by saying they deserve more credit than they get for their support of the health care law. “I think insurers got a really bad rap in this process. Insurers as part of this bill gave up the fundamental way they’ve made money the last 50 years, which is by discriminating against the sick. … The fact that they no longer have the ability to discriminate against the sick, to kick them out, to charge them more, is a huge give by the insurance companies,” he said. “They got too, they got the mandate but they’re going to be put on competitive exchanges, that cannot be overstated. … They’re going to be pricing insurance fairly. I actually think that insurance companies, despite getting vilified a lot at the end of this process, actually were a very effective partner in making it happen.”

No question the insurance companies were very effective in bringing about Obamacare. But this notion that the insurance companies made a big sacrifice (a “huge give”) in helping give us Obamacare is utter nonsense.

“I’d trade it all for a little more.”

So said the character Monty Burns, the stereotypical Evil Capitalist on TV’s “The Simpsons.” That’s what the insurance companies did: they “gave up the fundamental way they’ve made money the last 50 years” … in order to have thousands upon thousands upon thousands more customers forced on them by government mandate. Hail the noble sacrifice indeed.

I would note also that leftist first principles precluded them from outrage over the individual mandate, which was the succor to Big Business. The rest of us wondered at their change in 2009, when they went from arguing that health insurance was too costly for the poor to afford to arguing that the poor must be forced to pay for health insurance or be slapped with huge fines.

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...