“Who could have seen this coming?”

That is what blogger Glenn Reynolds asks (sarcastically, as Hot Air points out) of the latest bad news from the health care reform front.

Here’s the news:

Some of the nation’s top insurance companies will stop offering child-only policies rather than comply with the new, government-mandated standard that children with preexisting conditions be accepted.

A few observations are in order. First, the child-only policies allowed families of limited means to make sure their kids had health insurance. They could do this themselves and without government (make that taxpayer) subsidies. It involved a family’s choice as to what is most important to them.

Thanks to new government rules families will no longer be able to make this highly-intelligent choice. Noting that the insurance companies had decided against committing economic suicide, Carie Lukas addressed the issue of ending child-only policies in a previous Inkwell item.

Hot Air notes:

Most of us outside of the White House understood that by forcing insurers to take on more risk while pressuring them to keep prices down, we would either see insurers stop offering certain policies or go out of business altogether.  ObamaCare advocates kept insisting that we had to help the children by proceeding apace with their government takeover of the industry.

Critics blast the insurers for their “immoral” decision, but they had little choice.  The federal government mandate requires them to accept any child at any time, regardless of any pre-existing condition, but doesn’t yet require parents of healthy children to buy policies for them.

Children with preexisting conditions will be accepted under other plans, and this sets up an unfortunate scenario: parents imply wait until kids are sick to buy insurance. As the Washington Post reported:

Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for AHIP, noted that insurers will be accepting children with preexisting conditions in other types of plans.

But, he said, extending such coverage in child-only policies “provides a very powerful incentive for a parent to wait until their child becomes very sick before purchasing coverage.”

Zirkelbach added that in 2014, when similar protections kick in for all individuals with preexisting conditions, virtually all Americans will be required to get health insurance.

With no such mandate currently in place, however, the result over the next several years could be that the pool of children insured by child-only plans would rapidly skew toward those with expensive medical bills, either bankrupting the plans or forcing insurers to make up their losses by substantially increasing premiums for all customers. And Zirkelbach said the effect could be compounded if only a few plans remain in the market.

We are headed for a disaster if the health care legislation backed by the administration isn’t repealed and replaced.