Saturday, July 4, 2009
As I was reviewing the analytics for this blog and I realized that a good number of page hits came from people searching “conservative health care myths” on google. The hits were going to a recent post I wrote debunking some Obama promises on health care. However, I felt as though that post was not exactly what the liberals were looking for with regards to their search, so here is a post just for them. Below are the top 6 immutable truths regarding Obamacare.
A note on Obamacare before I begin: Obama and congress have been cryptic about exactly what will be in their bill. As a result, it’s very difficult to debate his plan since no one knows what his plan is. This makes it easier to deny any accusations. My prediction is that the public will not get the details until the morning congress is going to vote on it. This is in accordance with Pelosi and Obama’s promise for transparency and debate. The bill will be 2,000 pages and buried within the language will be a number of large earmarks to convince those on the fringe to vote. I will therefore one up Obama and congress and be open about how likely I believe each scenario to be. Those on the left may not feel confident in my assessment, but it’s not my fault that Obama won’t let us vet his bill in its entirety.
1. You may lose access to your doctor
I believe the odds of this occurring are 50/50. Unless Obama mandates that all PCPs accept Obamacare, it is not out of the realm of belief that your doctor may take your company’s insurance but not Obamacare. There are already doctors that do not take medicare/medicaide and that is a trend likely to extend to Obamacare. Obama likes to dictate, so a mandate thrown into the final bill is not out of the realm of possibility either.
2. You may lose your current health insurance
I’m sorry, but this is a reality and no number of Obama speeches will change the fact. The CBO estimates that 15 million people who had been paying into their employer assisted health insurance will lose that insurance as employers cease offering plans to their employees. Sadly, the number will be drastically higher if Obama decides to tax employer health plans as imputed income.
3. Government cannot control costs
It is highly likely that healthcare costs will spiral out of the government’s control. This is the case in MA, where Obamacare has already been tried. The simple fact is that Obamacare has a fairytale promise. Provide more health care, to everyone, at the same or less cost. This is against the laws of economics and has never occurred anywhere in the world. In reality you have a choice, lower everyone’s cost by restricting everyone’s access to health care, pay exponentially higher costs for each additional person added to the healthcare rolls, or a little of both. In MA, we see a little of both.
4. The government will restrict access to healthcare
This is likely although the government may choose to have out-of-control healthcare costs instead. See my previous point. Costs and access to health care go hand-in-hand.
5. The government will create a healthcare monopoly
Yes, it will. Any of you who believe Obama when he says that the government will be promoting competition in the health care market has never had to work in an industry where the government is involved. Simply put, the government can do what they want because they make the laws. Here is an example. I cannot just start my own health insurance company. I would need to qualify, jump through bureaucratic hoops, and get approval from…the government. If the government wants to get involved with healthcare, they just vote themselves in.
I work in the liquor business. If I have a problem with a company I do business with in the private sector, I simply find a different customer or threaten to go to a different customer. For that reason, I’m able to work out any disputes. If I have a problem with a government agency then I’m out of luck. I either do business with them or I don’t do business in the entire state. Likewise, in medicare/medicaide you must fill out the billing correctly or you don’t get paid. If you don’t like it then you have no course of redress, because they are the government and you are not. Sure there is competition with the government, but it is not reciprocal. The government does not compete with the private sector, they mandate.
6. This is a backdoor to socialize medicine
Not in the short-run, but yes, I think it’s possible. I find the most compelling argument comes from Obama himself. Five months ago Obama said, “Let me be clear; I don’t want to run the banks.” He is running banks. Four months ago Obama said, “Let me be clear; I don’t want to run the auto industry.” He is running the auto industry. One month ago Obama said, “Let me be clear; I don’t want to run health care.” I think what he says speaks for itself.
It takes a little reading between the lines here, but Obama’s administration has been arguing that a government plan is good because it provides competition with private insurance. Could someone tell me what your goal is when you compete? Could it be to put the other guys out of business?
How quickly we are led to single payer health care will be determined by how restrictive the legislation is. If there are mandates requiring everyone to have health insurance or taxes on employer provided health plans, we will get to single payer much faster.
Does health care need reform? You bet! However, Obama should be looking at reforms within the private sector to keep costs down and make health care affordable and available. Instead, he argues that government will magically make health care costs disappear. I'm still waiting for an example where this has ever occurred anywhere but on paper.