Unintended consequences. They ripple out from every law our elected leaders pass, like the waves from the proverbial pebble (or in this case boulder) in the pond.

Sometimes it still takes us by surprise — even when we see it coming. Not unlike this latest story, where we see carriers trimming down provider networks — in particular specialist hospitals — in a bid to keep premiums competitive. As Bloomberg reported Thursday morning:

"The law puts pressure on premiums by requiring insurers to 'broaden health benefits, restricting how much premiums can vary with age and adding a new health-insurance tax,' said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, a Washington-based trade group. Narrowing networks to those that accept lower payments in exchange for higher patient volume 'is one way to help mitigate cost increase for consumers,' he said."

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