Think the past three months of state and the federal healthcare.gov dysfunction, policy cancellations and premium increases have been a bad dream? Wait till New Years Day ushers in non-covered patients at hospital emergency room nightmares and more cases of insecure-exchange-related identity thefts. Not to mention the horror story awaiting the imposition of the King Obama-delayed-employer mandate next fall and the extent of the disaster that is Obamacare becomes ever more clear.
Yesterday we witnessed the truly surreal spectacle of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “encouraging” supposedly private insurance companies to cover Healthcare.gov customers after the first of the year even if they haven’t confirmed receipt of premium payments. The wealth of nations of which Adam Smith wrote in 1776, and which the United States created in historic amounts for 237 years thereafter, wasn’t accomplished with government encouragement such as this:
We know that over five million Americans have had insurance plans they liked cancelled since the insurance and individual mandates took effect on October 1. We know that no more than 300,000 (and probably a lot less) have signed up for insurance on state and federal exchanges as of yesterday. We know that those exchanges haven’t the capacity to handle but a small fraction of the remaining uninsured before the kickoff of the Rose Bowl, yet our government, the Obama administration, drifts like zombies toward the disaster that awaits.
A rational people represented by a rational chief executive and legislature would act now to stop the inevitable.
Of course, that would mean the end of Obamacare and those politically-tied to its fate; and given the past disasters liberal Democrats have managed to escape responsibility for with help for their MSM branch and cowardly Republicans, one understands why they favor new PR campaigns rather than damage control and solutions for their victims.
Admittedly, it is hard to fathom any quick solution for the newly uninsured. Clearly, deductibles averaging between $5000-10,000 for even tax payer-subsidized policies bought on the exchanges is no solution except for upper middle and high income citizens. Moreover, given the massive infusion into Medicaid that Obamacare has fostered, with the resulting doctor and hospital-survival opt-outs, one can expect hospital emergency rooms to be the primary health care option for non-emergency care for an exponentially larger portion of America than before the ACA law was enacted to end this very practice.
Obviously the best answer would be for Obamacare mandates to be immediately suspended and a free market restored in which willing buyers and willing sellers could enter into insurance contracts they agree to and which government were restrained from interfering with as contemplated by the U.S. Constitution.
Yes, as George Will pointed out on FNC’s Special Report panel last night, one should feel no sympathy for an insurance industry that mostly bought into a new business model that mandated people to buy their products and subsidized many purchases. But schadenfreude doesn’t insure one sick child. Insurance companies are populated by people who, like many non-corporate Americans, either bought into Hope & Change or resigned themselves to its inevitability.
For America to once again be exceptional, or even minimally recognizable with affordable health care and insurance available, there must be a free market in both. Obamacare turns out to the progenitor of a two-tired system of health care, with one for the rich and other high income employees. The rest of us will be receiving mail from the USPS in long lines outside hospital ERs, unless we are taken to the morgue before the postal carrier arrives; or booking rafts to see witch doctors in Haiti.
Some conservatives have argued that Obamacare is meant to fail so that the government can move the country to single payer, nationalized health care. While many liberals would prefer that, a more likely path is parallel health care systems. Those with fully private insurance will continue to be treated by private doctors and hospitals as they are now.
For those in Medicare, Medicaid, and subsidized plans sold through the health care exchanges, health care will be provided by government-employed doctors and health care providers through a greatly expanded National Health Services Corps. Newly graduated doctors will be coerced into spending their first few years serving in the National Health Services Corps by government dangling increasingly attractive offers of student loan write-offs in exchange for a few years of government service.
Given the October government shutdown, the Ryan-Murray budget and the refusal of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to resign, clearly there is no prospect for avoiding the continuing Obamacare train wreck, much less treating its victims before the election of 2014, much less before January; but at least Republican leaders should articulate what is happening, what will happen after the first of the year and that all Democrats and only they are responsible, every day except Christmas between now and Martin Luther King Day, 2014.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson