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On the Third Hand: Living will

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The Supreme Court could have killed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) premium tax credit program, and, in effect, the PPACA commercial health insurance regulation system as a whole, in the King v. Burwell ruling.

Some Republican members of Congress tried to come up with proposals for shoring up the U.S. commercial health insurance system up during a transition period between the end of PPACA World and the arrival of Post-PPACA World.

See also: Republican senators: PPACA subsidies would continue after Supreme Court ruling

Few other players seemed especially interested in keeping the health insurance system breathing during that transitional period. The other players seemed to be quite comfortable with the idea of letting the system, and, possibly, some patients, die just to make the players on the other side look bad.

On the one hand, that’s politics.

On the other hand, that’s awful.

On the third hand, if federal regulators are going to press companies like MetLife Inc. (NYSE:MET) to come up with “resolution plans,” or “living wills,” to explain what they’d do if they failed, on the theory that their failures could pose a risk to the financial system, why doesn’t the country find a way to require the development similar plans for the government institutions that form the bedrock of our economic system?

See also: MetLife living will deadline considered for delay by Fed, FDIC

If saner times ever come, lawmakers who care about the country, not just floor votes, could get together and try to design a constitutional way to build orderly shutdown plans into the laws authorizing the operation of major federal laws and programs.

They should stop letting the government ruin, or threaten to ruin, the lives of ordinary people and companies that have trusted it to be able to stick with a course of action for more than six months running.