Actually, it's not Obamacare for Our Corn

It was a great line by Steven Colbert and Bruce Babcock.  But it's not true.  Federal crop insurance has way more Big Government and a lot less efficiency than Obamacare.

A few differences:

1. Obamacare has subsidies for low-income households; crop insurance has huge subsidies for all the farmers, regardless of farm size or farm household wealth.

2. Obamacare lets the private market determine premiums and pay indemnities; crop insurance policies and premiums are all set by the government, and the government pays most indemnities, with private insurance companies basically getting fat commissions for marketing government policies.

3. Obamacare requires everyone be insured, which forces pooling; crop insurance isn't mandatory, so they have to just crank up the subsidies.  In 1995 they tried to require enrollment in the insurance program in order to qualify for other kinds of subsidies, but farmers complained and so they rolled back this requirement.  They've also threatened many times not to give disaster assistance unless farmers are insured, but usually they give farmers disaster payments regardless of whether they insure.

But like health insurance, crop insurance wouldn't exist without government involvement.

It will be interesting to see how big those indemnity checks will be this year.


  1. OK, maybe not Obamacare for corn, but mostly welfare for the wealthy, right?

  2. Yes, it's definitely social insurance for the wealthy.


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