Black comedy from earlier today via the Free Beacon. We need a temporary ban on gigantic premium hikes until we can figure out what’s going on.

“Because the idea was not only to spread coverage around, but that by spreading the coverage around, not only would it help people get more preventative care, but then it would ultimately bring the costs down, and instead, the premiums are skyrocketing,” O’Donnell said, sounding exasperated.

“And so the question is, what happened?” Rose said.

“Yeah, and who’s profiting on this?” O’Donnell asked.

“What can be done?” Gayle King, a Barack Obama donor, asked.

“Is the way the law was set up failed? It’s a really interesting story,” O’Donnell said.

It is pretty interesting, come to think of it, that this mammoth overhaul of America’s health insurance system has turned into exactly the sort of boondoggle that conservatives warned about, with middle-class Americans taking it in the pants as premiums soar and insurers drop out. There are too many sick people and too few young healthy people in the risk pools to make the program pay for itself, and the federal “risk corridor” program that was supposed to absorb the losses of insurers who paid out more than they took in has been capped for budgetary reasons, meaning insurers are receiving pennies on the dollar for their losses. That’s one big reason why so many are bailing out of the exchanges, because Congress decided that they weren’t going to cut insurers a blank check to compensate them for these entirely foreseeable shortfalls. The program will, in fact, have to try to pay for itself, which is why you’re seeing premiums soar:

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Compare the columns with and without subsidies. As John noted last night, not everyone who’s suffering through a rate hike is eligible for a check from Uncle Sam; higher income earners will have to grin, bear it, and take what they can get while there are still insurers willing to participate in their state’s exchange. As for the many who do qualify for federal subsidies, they won’t bear the cost of this first turn on the inevitable marketplace death spiral — but someone will. Guess who. Hint: It’s the same people who end up bearing the cost for every massive federal boondoggle.

Hopefully CBS will find some time after the election — or even before the election! — to explore this “really interesting” development in the financial stability and basic quality of life for many millions of people.