Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's Wrong with Obamacare? redux

This is a brief summary of my opposition to ObamaCare, aimed mostly at visitors but hopefully also helpful to regulars. I have written thousands of words over the last year on this topic; I'm going to link to those and other folks, so if you want more detail or explanation, follow the links.

First and foremost, opposing ObamaCare does not mean I'm happy with the status quo. There are very few who don't want to reform our health care system. But ObamaCare isn't the way to do it. Setting aside the fact that most of it is unconstitutional and rips away many of our freedoms, it simply won't work.

It will not rein in health care costs.
The biggest problem we have is that costs are rising at an incredible rate. The biggest culprit is that health care costs are invisible to the patient. We appear to be spending someone else's money.

It will only improve access to medical care in a few years and then only for a little while.
When the benefits kick in (four years after the taxes start), people who didn't have insurance — or good insurance — will be able to go see a doctor when they want or need to. But there aren't enough doctors. And people tend to over-use "free" services. So it will be hard to get an appointment. Fees will go up (supply and demand). Then the government will step in and limit fees. And, like now with Medicare and Medicaid, providers will stop seeing people on these plans.

We can't afford it.
It's "cost savings" is based on accounting gimmicks. Every government program ends up costing more than promised. In the end, the government will have to increase taxes (which we can't afford), borrow money (which we can't afford), or cut services.

It's designed to lead us to single-payer.
Mr. Obama and just about every other major Democrat has said publicly this is supposed to be a first step toward a single-payer system. They can slowly push the system that direction. But the current bill also seems to be designed to fail in that direction — for instance, when doctor's start rejecting people on these subsidized plans because they don't pay enough, the Dems can call this a flaw in the private insurance market that is best fixed by putting everyone into one system.

Everything proposed has been tried somewhere else and failed.
What has been passed and what will be proposed next, it's all been done — whether in a state or another country. It doesn't work.

The latest on Massachusetts here and here.

What will work?
The only thing left is to reconsider the whole concept of health insurance. Why isn't it more like auto insurance — catastrophic coverage? If we ask health insurance to cover less, premiums go down. That savings can be used to pay cash for health care. Patients will be more aware of costs, and providers will have to keep costs in check. It works in eye care. It will work here. And if we still need to subsidize some people's care, we can, but that's in a system that is pushing health care costs down rather than driving them up.

More: Indiana's experience with HSAs

What's Wrong with ObamaCare?

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