Obamacare A Week Later
“Obamacare one week later looks like an overly expensive solution…”
The initial storm has passed. We can now take a more measured view of what happened last week. The issue most irrelevant to this law is whether it is a tax or a penalty. I do not care what it is called. There is a fee for not getting insurance, and it is semantics and politics to argue what it is officially called.
My concerns on the law are several. First, I agree mandatory insurance coverage is a good thing. My usually Libertarian principles of limited government do not apply here. Those who do not pay in to get insurance take from the rest of us when they get sick and get care. I side with the Democrats on this issue. Forget all this nonsense about government forcing people to buy a product. It is a product
everyone needs. Unless those non-buyers are willing to bleed to death after their uncovered accident, then buy insurance.
On the other side, the Democrats know this is a budget buster and they will not admit it. The costs to cover everyone, many with expensive pre-existing conditions, will break the bank. All of us 2% rich folks will pick up the bill, as well as the other 48% who pay taxes. I am not opposed to paying a bit more to cover my fellow Americans. After all, a healthy society is more productive. I said I would pay a bit more, not a lot more and that is what I fear over time. My basic principle is no one should go bankrupt because of an unforeseen disease. Let me emphasize unforeseen like cancer or a serious accident. I want some personal responsibility penalty for all those morbidly obese or smokers out there.
The net is I think we could have a more efficient health care system using the private market. I believe that unfettered national competition for the consumer health care dollar would bring costs down. As long as a government bureaucracy runs the plan I guarantee cost will be out of sight. Private companies who depend on the consumer dollar will do a better job. I would give each consumer a tax credit to buy insurance and mandate it. I would have a government run high risk pool for pre-existing conditions.
I suspect the President knows this current plan is not affordable and he expects effectiveness panels from both government and private insurers to eventually bring costs in control. Whether we like it or not, death panels are a good thing. If we had to fund grandpa’s extra week of life in a coma with our own funds most of us would say goodbye. After all we are paying dear funds that could be used for education and infrastructure to extend life without quality.
One other thing we have to do is end defensive medicine. Democrats say money spent on malpractice is not that high but they fail to add the cost of unnecessary tests to that bill. The reality is we need tort reform to control costs.
Finally, it would be a good thing to re-evaluate who treats us. We can solve our unemployment problem by training millions of health care workers to do limited things for $35,000 a year. An expert in colds, ear infections, and sore throats, for example, could treat 99% of the routine visits for these problems. Why did we get into this need for a highly trained and expensive physician for any medical issue? The AMA wants to limit practitioners to benefit their members’ compensation. They may say only a highly trained physician can spot something more serious in a routine exam. I’ll take my chances with the sore throat expert at $35,000.
Obamacare one week later looks like an overly expensive solution, albeit a compassionate one. If cooler heads could get together I believe we can keep the compassion and cut the costs dramatically. Government is really bad at cost control. I have not found them very compassionate either in my dealings with government run programs. As long as they are the only game in town they will not serve us well. That is why I like unfettered competition. I would rather have some private company, even if they care only about profit; compete for my business than some unaccountable government bureau. My experiences with Fedex have always been better than with the USPS.
I strongly support the goals of Obamacare, and would urge Republicans to put out an alternate plan that we can evaluate in terms of access, quality and cost. Only then can voters get beyond hyperbole and into the facts.
Bob Ehrlich, Chairman
DTC Perspectives, Inc.