“More than any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” This is a Woody Allen send up of speeches given to college graduates, published in his book “Side Effects.”

Unsurprisingly, many in the health insurance industry feel as though this assessment is all too real – especially in light of the vilification of the industry by ideologues who have little if any real interest in reforming health care and a great deal of interest in creating new and ever larger manacles of mandates.

Hang onto this, campers: These filthy rich insurance companies (average profit about 3%) will pay billions of dollars of claims this year. Many are similar to one we just paid for an individual policyholder and her premature baby. The baby will go on to lead a long and healthy life because of the care of great doctors and an insurance company that paid the bill to the tune of more than half a million dollars. That kind of “side effect” happens every day. That’s the path we chose.