Mistakes were made. Yet mistakes can teach us valuable lessons if we are willing to learn from them. In this case, there is an opportunity for those who gave us the Obamacare insurance cooperatives (the White House and the Democrats in Congress) and those who led the cheerleading from the sidelines (the editors of the New York Times, e.g.) to learn some basic facts about economics, simple arithmetic and crony capitalism.

From the beginning, the idea of a health insurance cooperative sprang from the minds of folks who reject economics and the economic way of thinking. A health insurance CO-OP, it was said, would be less expensive to operate because it would not have to earn a profit. Any surplus earned could be reinvested in the business. In this way, the CO-OP would serve people rather than the profit motive. It would put patients first, rather than shareholders.

Also, these folks believed that you don’t need to know anything about a business in order to be successful running it. The law in fact forbids health insurance executives and employees of health insurance industry trade groups from serving on CO-OP boards. (I’m not making this up. See here.)