The incompetence displayed in the Obamacare rollout may certainly make the supporters squirm, and the opposers cheer with heart felt “We told you so”. But focusing on this fiasco is energy misplaced.
Obamacare so intensely flawed on so many levels that we should be grateful that the registration process went so poorly, because it has made many who were willing to give it the benefit of the doubt serious second thoughts. This bill is far worse the mere disaster of the exchanges indicates. The exchanges can be fixed- the rest of the bill will continue to harm us all.
I realize in a media market dominated by sound bites and bias, it is hard to discuss in detail the many economic and policy flaws that are far more harmful than a bad computer glitch. A few I have noted before:
From Ignoring Economics of Health Care:
The premise of this law is the height of economic ignorance. The intention is to lower costs and broaden coverage. Yet the price fixing will only lower costs for the older and more wealthy at the expense of the younger and less wealthy. Mandated coverages raise costs, as does taxes on medical devices and other increases on the health care providers.
Higher costs do not always show up in the form of dollar price tags. If limits are placed on selling price but increased costs are mandated then we will see either lower quality of car as the delivery is pushed from higher costs practitioners like MD to lower cost like nurses and medical assistants. The flu shot you used to get from your doctor (who had your medical records and knew about your allergies to certain medications) is now available at Walgreens.
Service will also suffer. The squeeze will also affect availability and waiting periods.
This is not complicated it is all Economics 101. Raising the price on those least able to afford the coverage will result more of the young electing against coverage. So not only does this misguided nightmare raise costs but it reduces he number of people covered.
From Scott Grannis, The Obamacare Nightmare:
For starters, it is inconceivable that any government body could, by fiat, reorganize and re-regulate one-sixth of the U.S. economy and have the results be anything like what was promised or intended. (If government could work miracles, the Soviet Union would be eating our lunch today.) Government bureaucrats and agencies cannot possibly design a healthcare system that will function more efficiently than what could be achieved if the private sector and market forces were allowed free rein. The only way that healthcare could possibly cost less, while covering more people, is for the government to impose rationing, something that was explicitly not promised. The unintended consequences of this law, some of which have already appeared, are virtually impossible to overestimate.
A growing number of large and important unions are getting quite upset and concerned. The early fallout from Obamacare—the loss of jobs, the increase in part-time employment, the regulatory burdens, the increased costs, and the higher taxes—has undoubtedly acted to worsen the overall health and vitality of the economy, and it is only likely to get worse with time.
If Obamacare proceeds, the problems and dissatisfactions will mount, and Democrats will face serious consequences come next November. Next year’s election would effectively become a referendum on Obamacare, and my money says that the voters will roundly reject it and its hapless creators.
Mark Steyn writes Obamacare’s Hierarchy of Privilege in The National Review.
As Nancy Pelosi famously said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” But the problem with “comprehensive” legislation is that, when everything’s in it, nothing’s in it. The Affordable Care Act means whatever President Obama says it means on any particular day of the week. Whether it applies to you this year, next year, or not at all depends on the whim of the sovereign, and whether your CEO golfs with him on Martha’s Vineyard. A few weeks back, the president unilaterally suspended the law’s employer mandate. Under the U.S. Constitution, he doesn’t have the power to do this, but judging from the American people’s massive shrug of indifference he might as well unilaterally suspend the Constitution, too.Obamacare is not a law, in the sense that all persons are equal before it, but a hierarchy of privilege; for example, senators value their emir-sized entourages and don’t want them to quit, so it is necessary to provide the flunkies who negotiated and drafted the Affordable Care Act an exemption from the legislation they imposed on the citizenry. Once again, the opt-out is not legal. As theWall Street Journal trenchantly observed, “OPM has no authority to pay for insurance plans that lack FEHBP contracts, nor does the Affordable Care Act permit either exchange contributions or a unilateral bump in Congressional pay in return for less overall compensation.”
The problem with Obama Care goes far beyond the roll out. It is bad policy, bad economics and is based on bad information and bad analysis. Focusing on the competence of the on line interface supposes that the core of the policy would be fine were it not for this single hiccup.
The fact is that the 45 million uninsured that was repeated incessantly by the media was grossly overstated. Take out those that could afford insurance but chose to run without it, those that were only uninsured for a few months between jobs, those that were already covered but had not signed up for various assistance, non citizens, and prisoners and the number was closer to 10 million- a number that could have been insured much cheaper and easier with simple vouchers. And that number only refers to insurance- that does not mean that they were without health care . Bad facts.
The myth that our results are worse based on lifespan and child birth also does not stand up to fact. OUR longevity included violent deaths – a problem but not one solved by health care policies- Our infant deaths were also exaggerated because we include premature and neonatal cases and most countries do not. Our cancer survival rates are much better and our cardio results are much better – wait times- even for indigents are much better. Again – bad facts. Other health factors like diabetes and obesity have more social causes than being the result of bad health care policy. The better we are at treating diseases like diabetes the more likely that they are able to be passed on genetically.
Elizabeth Warren’s study that Obama quoted- that medical costs were the cause of 80% of bankruptcies- has been totally debunked by her academic peers. Northwestern University peers said that a freshman would have flunked on such shoddy academic work. https://www.rebelyid.com/2012/05/an-elizabeth-warren-reader/ again- bad facts
Cost drivers include new advanced technologies which are more expensive at first but become cheaper and available over time- periods of great innovation are not bad periods even if costs do escalate- and as I have said before the price factor for medicine is the same as arts and education- it is more of a reflection of improved productivity in industrial sectors – cost escalation is also a factor in countries with state controlled health care for the same reason. IN other words from the perspective of technical improvements cost are higher and we are better able to pay it. The second big driver is legal mandates that forces us to buy coverages we would not choose to buy if given the choice. Bad analysis.
We even had state high risk pools that served those with pre existing conditions reasonably well- those are now gone.
It is absurd beyond comprehension that the likes of Sebelius or any other hubristic bureaucrat can make better health care choices that a million consumers spending their own money. Very bad economics.
There are many ways to cover more people and lower costs- regardless of your preferred political ideology- HSA’s were a wonderful idea that was killed under this fiasco- letting insurance companies cross state lines- other ideas were good. Jim Marshall proposed making doctors charge their lowest rate for payment at time of service- also a good idea., None of these are in this bill.
In fact Obama lowered the insurance cost for us older folks who have more money- and substantially raised it on younger folks starting out. Bad economics, and terrible policy. The big insurance companies who supported this bill are making out like bandits- using the law to suppress any competition. A true liberal should be outraged and should support the defunding and repeal of this monstrosity.
Add to this disaster the privacy issues that have been thrown to the wind and every true liberal should be outraged even more.
Will Rogers advised, “Be grateful you are not getting all the government you are paying for.”
This bill is far worse the mere disaster of the exchanges indicates. The exchanges can be fixed- the rest of the bill will continue to harm us all.