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Want to See a Health Insurance Death Spiral? Visit Washington State (Forbes)

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During Supreme Court arguments on the severability of the health reform law, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked, “You are saying that we have the expertise to make the inquiry you want us to make?” The Court need only look back to the 90s for a case study on severability. In 1993, the Democrats passed the Washington Health Services Act, which the Republicans repealed most of in 1994. Two pieces of the law remained: guaranteed issue (insurers must cover pre-existing conditions) and community rating (insurers must charge similar premiums to the young and old). Residents quickly learned how to take advantage of what was left of the law. As a result, premiums increased by as much as 78% by 1997, more than 30 insurers left the state and Premera Blue Cross lost $120 million before dropping out of the market in 1998.