Obamacare: I Told You So (The First of Many)

by | Feb 1, 2013

I’d call it the law of unintended consequences, but actually such things are intended.

Associated Press reports:

Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.

As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.

I told you so.

And there’s much more to come, including things that opponents of Obamacare (and government medicine more generally) would not have predicted.

I’d call it the law of unintended consequences, but actually such things are intended. Whenever government intends to provide something by restraining the liberties of individuals, the resulting collapse in efficiency and fairness is breathtakingly predictable.

It’s important to remember the debate leading up to Obamacare. Obama himself, and then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in particular, initially pushed for what they called “the public option.”

The public option referred to immediate and guaranteed health insurance coverage to all citizens by birthright. Whether your employer provided you with health insurance or not, government would give it to you free-of-charge, upon request.

The final Obamacare bill stopped short of the public “option” because it smacked too much of socialized medicine to “moderate” Republicans and “moderate” Democrats.

Hello?! We already had socialized medicine in the form of Medicare and Medicaid. It was the impending fiscal crises (not yet resolved) with each of these programs that led to the clamor for health care reform, in the first place.

Opponents of the public “option” were right to oppose even further socialization of the system. But Obamacare was possibly an even more lethal compromise, as events are now proving.

Opponents of Obamacare should have supported privatization and deregulation, with an eventual privatization of Medicare (which will eventually happen anyway, given its inherent unsustainability). We need to open up and move towards a totally free marketplace for health care. Instead, we did just the opposite, and now people’s choices are shrinking even more.

Obamacare created the false impression that we still have a “private market” for health insurance, and that you can still “keep your insurance if you want it.” How well is that working out for those who will lose out on both government and private medicine?

People like me have been saying that Obamacare so heavily regulates an already too-regulated health insurance and medical care market that, increasingly, people will have to turn to government care. The problem is, based on this report, that for many people this will mean the loss of health insurance as they knew it (from their employer), without any compensation from the government (which shouldn’t be government’s job in the first place).

Talk about a mess. Many people will no longer be able to get health insurance from their employers, since their employers cannot afford it thanks to increasing taxes and regulations everywhere you look. But these same people, since they still work, are too rich for Medicaid.

It would seem that the only solution is for such people to stop working, so that they can now become eligible for government aid. It’s darkly fascinating, isn’t it, to see how these “humane” government policies actually reward the worst in human beings while punishing the best?

Government policies make it rational to stop working and being self-responsible, and more rational to simply … give in, and live off of others (or the trillions in accumulating government debt).

Associated Press continues:

The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.

This is so typical of what the government does. It adds to an existing, government-created mess by blaming it on the profit motive and self-interest. When their remedies—always promised to fix everything, once and for all—make matters even worse, they blame someone or something else.

Expect the Obama people to start saying, “We need additional reforms. There is still too much profit and selfishness in medicine.”

What this really means is that there’s still too much self-responsibility and a desire for sovereignty over one’s life in society. If we could just extinguish all of that—why, then all would be glorious and free. Just like the old Soviet Russia, and Castro’s Cuba, right? Those places had health care for all, too.

We were promised health care for all. What we’re getting is health care for fewer than ever before.

As for the “I told you so” department, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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