The movement to repeal President Obama’s signature health care law rightly criticizes the accounting trickery in the legislation’s understated costs and overstated savings. In fact, when in the last two centuries has the U.S. Congress been able to reduce, control or slow the growth of any government program? But suppose we could believe that a […]

Obamacare: A Waste of Good Medicine

by | Apr 4, 2011 | Healthcare

The movement to repeal President Obama’s signature health care law rightly criticizes the accounting trickery in the legislation’s understated costs and overstated savings. In fact, when in the last two centuries has the U.S. Congress been able to reduce, control or slow the growth of any government program?

But suppose we could believe that a huge new entitlement program that sweeps 30 million more people into the arms of government-run insurance would not be a spectacular waste of money. A larger concern remains: Obamacare will reduce the availability, responsiveness and quality of American medicine, which can only really improve without government intervention.

So while we debunk the absurd claims about the supposed cost savings of Obamacare, we should not allow its waste of our money to divert our attention from its waste of our freedom.

The minority leader and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has repeatedly stated that a repeal of Obamacare will cost 120 million Americans to lose their health insurance due to pre-existing conditions — an absurd number pulled directly from thin air. (How will all those people get sick

retroactively?) No mention is made of the millions of seniors now losing their Medicare Advantage Plans, or the millions who cannot buy insurance across state lines because Congress allows states to ignore the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution, or the millions who cannot afford the cost of insurance due to the congressionally maintained medical liability racket. Tens of millions will lose their employer’s insurance when Obamacare effectively forces businesses to end their current insurance coverage and drives their employees into government insurance. What a waste.

Construction of physician-owned hospitals ground to a halt due to Obamacare’s provisions that cut off Medicare payments to these hospitals — a payoff to large hospital corporations. This is now resulting in fewer, more expensive hospital rooms and higher insurance costs. What a waste.

Obamacare is an excuse for the government to convert a branch of the National Institute of Health into a pharmaceutical business to work on the development of new drugs. This will require billions of dollars for an agency with an enormous advantage over drug companies: it can spend indefinitely but never needs to get results. Highly paid government scientists will undoubtedly be able to attend important conferences on many diseases in Aruba, Vienna and Singapore, to observe the research of others. They will be able to focus on politically correct diseases rather than those afflicting the most patients.

What a waste.

Employees with medical plans such as health savings accounts and Section 125 flex accounts will no longer be allowed to use their pre-tax income to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Patients will now have to obtain a prescription for these drugs — taking more of their time, their doctor’s time and their pharmacist’s time with unnecessary paperwork and cost. What a waste.

Billions of dollars in new taxes are being imposed on pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical equipment. These taxes will discourage the development of new drugs and equipment and increase their costs, which will increase medical and insurance costs throughout the system. What a waste.

Physicians will lose income if they do not comply with government “best practices” and provide government-approved treatment. Decrees of a distant government will replace the focused judgment of our physicians. What a waste.

Obamacare will waste our money, but that cost is insignificant compared to our wasted freedom, wasted medicine and wasted lives.

Richard E. Ralston is Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine.

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The views expressed represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine.

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