Obamacare’s Negative Prognosis

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The trillion dollar Obamacare experiment to reform America’s health system won’t work. But the primary reason why it won’t work is not what you may think.

Although a majority of Americans want nationalized health care repealed, that probably won’t lead to the demise of the law. A July 19 Rasmussen Reports poll found 60 percent of voters want the law overturned. And 61 percent of voters think health costs now will go up, not down. Sixty-two percent thought the federal deficit will increase, with 54 percent believing the law is “bad for the country.” Still, repeal seems unlikely. Congress would need a two-thirds majority to both pass a repeal and then override the presumed veto. Only a new President, friendly to repeal, could kill the law, a Fox News.com story noted.

What about the doctor shortage? “Aging baby boomers will create a growing demand for medical services,” said The Foundry June 18. “Nearly 40 percent of doctors are 55 or older and on the cusp of retirement—and the number of students on track to graduate from medical and nursing schools will not be adequate to replace them.” Obamacare expands health coverage by adding 16 million more people to the Medicaid rolls. Medicaid pays doctors notoriously low reimbursement rates, usually not enough to cover the cost of seeing the patients.

But Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius smilingly says the government is subsidizing an increase in health-care providers: $250 million to train more primary-care doctors by 2015, and new physician’s assistants, and nurses, even though that will still fall short of needs.

What about the states that have sued the federal government to repeal Obamacare? Some have argued that a state can “nullify” a federal law believed to be unconstitutional. This was a principle propounded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. When a state proclaims that such a federal law is void, then it is not a law within that state. State attorneys general have pointed out that the added millions eligible for Medicaid will swamp state budgets. States pay nearly half the costs of Medicaid. A March 23 Bloomberg article said Medicaid makes up about 15 percent of total national health care expenditures. As Attorney General Bill McCollum of Florida has declared, the law is an “encroachment on the sovereignty of states.” States also have challenged the right of the government to impose a mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance. The White House argued at first that Congress had the “inherent authority to mandate coverage under the commerce clause,” which allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.

But to guard the health law against that contention, the Obama Administration was forced to pull another rabbit out of its hatful of tricks. It changed its original concept of the health law provision making people buy insurance by redefining it, instead, as a tax. The Justice Department moved to dismiss a Florida suit against the law, arguing that courts can’t interfere with the government’s ability to collect taxes, The American Spectator reported July 17. But some argue a tax can only be paid to the Treasury, not a private entity. Otherwise it is unconstitutional. But who knows what the Supreme Court would decide on such an issue?

There may well be many sound reasons why in the real world Obamacare won’t work. But probably the most persuasive one is—to use a term in the vernacular: the law is bass-ackwards. It has the government, not the consumer, making the decisions. A persuasive study, released in July by the Galen Institute’s Entitlement Reform Project, concluded that only by giving beneficiaries their choices can this lead to “the revolutionary and cost-cutting changes the government has never been able to successfully impose by regulatory fiat.” The Institute is a nonprofit research organization devoted to advancing free-market ideas in health policy.

The 21-page study stated that the “more promising approach for addressing the significant challenges we face is a completely new relationship between the government and the beneficiaries of its programs. What is particularly significant is that putting the consumer in control in health matters already has been shown to work. It has worked since the prescription drug program of Medicare went into effect in 2006. Consumers were given control to make their own choices.

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  • George

    "It has worked since the prescription drug program of Medicare went into effect in 2006."

    Really Tait? Really?

  • gretske

    Committed liberal progressives, like Obama and the scores of non-business professionals in his administration, believe that once the government has complete control over the health care system, it can reduce costs bureaucratically. They can't tell you how, but it will likely require a combination of rationing, cutting payments to doctors, use of lower cost treatments, or denying treatment entirely for the elderly and infirm. Horowitz is right, it will not work. Nationalized health care has not worked where ever it has been tried, but Obama will forge on, regardless of consequences.

  • Glenda McGee

    It isn't supposed to work. It is about culling the flock because they have spent our social security money. It is about UN Agenda 21 saying mother earth cannot afford a middle class. It is the Fourth Reich. It is genocide. It is the fulfillment of Tom Daschle's "the old need to get out of the way.

    Non union non goverment humans are the new jews. we are supposed to die, stupid.

    • USMCSniper

      It may get worse. As shortages become common the old will either go to Carousel like in Logab;s Run or be reprocessed as Soylent Green to feed the unwashed masses. The political elite will get meat, fresh fruit and vegetables just like in Amimal Farm.

  • DCinSC

    Just as my state closes liquor stores on election day – depriving voters of the right to imbibe while they're picking the next politician to drive them to drink…

    Most of America is more nauseated by this radical government take-over (er…'redistribution') than their last dose of Syrup of Ipecac.

    Perhaps we should replace the 'warning' skull and crossbones on poison containers with Nancy Pelosi's portrait – "You have to drink it to find out what's in it". Then again, Congress has a 640 grand bottled water bill – and simply based on that fact – I think we all have a pretty good idea what's in it – more government waste and sanctimony. We should all go green – a health prognosis for the 'new' lifestyle – or death wish – as the case may be…

  • Jean

    You said it, Glenda.

    I have an unhelpful, bitter comment to make. Over which I may be pilloried for Conservative Incorrectness. I have thought for a long time, ever since I became a practicing RN, that too little attention has been paid to the profit (greed) motive of hospitals and doctors. It's a very big factor contributing to the state of health care today. Money makes the world go around (sadly) and greed reverses its rotation.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

      True, and also the lawyers who cause doctors and hospitals to pay high insurance costs.

  • kayc

    Obamacare does nothing to control costs which is what americans were looking for a health care bill to do. Most did not want gov't in charge of their health care. Now we are only paying more for less coverage. This bill does not help anyone, except maybe those that never paid for any coverage at all and illegals.

  • guest

    It's not a question of our healthcare may get worse…it's when ! For me, it already has, I have asthma and on Medicare, my cost for Albuterol inhailers went from $7.oo up to $39.92, I now order from Canada when I can get 3 for $50.oo plus shipping.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Wesley69 Wesley69

    ObamaCare, while it can not be repealed until the Repuiblicans have a majority in Congress and control the Presidency(2013), can still be stopped. If the Republicans capture the House, they simply do not fund anything connected with ObamaCare. Any attempt by the administration to divert funds needs to be checked by taking the Executive Branch to court. Congress needs to spend the time INVESTIGATING everything in ObamaCare. As for the states, they can't nullify federal laws, but they can still challenge it in federal courts. The Republicans need to educate the American people in Representative Paul Ryan's proposals. They make fiscal sense, then again this administration wouldn't recognize it if 60-70% of the American people approved.

  • USMCSniper

    The progressive leadership does not care about the desires or wants of the great unwashed because they are elitests and they know better and will push their socialist agenda in spite of 150 million corpses from Communism and a consistent record of failure because their gang can make it work somehow, so they say.

  • BS77

    The major obstacle to the smooth implementation of this health system is a lack of money….THe Federal Government cannot keep spending trillions and trillions of dollars indefinitely. There aren't the funds for this juggernaut socialized medicine. As much as I would like to see everyone have "free" medical care….it will not happen without taxes going to British levels….Americans already see the taxes are going to climb……to levels never seen before.

  • Jerusha

    In the past, Medicare and Blue Cross have both been totally disinterested in my relatives' attempts to correct double billings on hospital statements that were hundreds of dollars per statement. An elderly relative currently sees a doctor who requires her to have an office call nearly every time she needs a prescription refill, which is frequently since she's taking several medications. If you multiple this times all his patients, he has quite a racket going. My point? A dedicated fraud unit, for not only Medicare, but also Medicaid, private insurances, SSI and Social Security disability would go far to make these programs more financially viable.

  • Done-with-it

    America needs to walk away from this government. It is useless, bent on having it's own way and using us to pay it's bills — We can refuse to re-elect this pernicious horde in Washington; find trustworthy people; dump the trash!

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