From a front-page New York Times article about drug-treatment centers in Florida that are making money by...well, let the Times itself explain it:
the proliferation of fraudulent sober homes was in part also the result of two well-intentioned federal laws. First came a 2008 law that gave addicts more generous insurance benefits; then the Affordable Care Act, which permits adults under 26 to use their parents' insurance, requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and allows for multiple drug relapses.The result was a whole new category of young addicts with access to insurance benefits. This gave rise to a new class of abusive operator, as painstakingly chronicled in The Palm Beach Post: the corrupt sober house owner....Relapses are welcome because they restart the benefits clock.
Require and subsidize health insurance to pay for virtually unlimited drug treatment and — lo and behold — it produces lots of relapses and overdoses. This is a tough one, because most of us probably don't want drug addicts who need treatment to be turned away for a lack of beds, lack of insurance, or lack of ability to pay, either. But when even the Times acknowledges that "two well-intentioned federal laws" have contributed to fraud and created incentives for relapses, it's a useful reminder that while good "intentions" are nice, the perverse incentives and unintended consequences they create are too often overlooked until later on.