obamacareAny doubts any of us might have had that Obamacare is, by design, a transitional program leading to socialized medicine should, by now, be part of the past. A recent article sums up the facts, noting that analysts on both the left and the right agree that the vast majority of us who currently get our health insurance through our employers will no longer do so after the next decade or so. Why not? Because Obamacare’s penalty for employers who drop this insurance—$2,000—is so very much less than the cost of providing the benefit, especially given the numerous, expensive extra requirements and burdens imposed under the new regulations. At this stage, then, it simply does not make sense for employers to subsidize employee health insurance when they are paying taxes to the federal government to provide, well, subsidized health insurance.

Of course the new, government-controlled health insurance will entail less choice, longer waiting periods, and more expensive red tape. But employers, eager to save their bottom line in an era of increasing regulation and higher taxes, are not likely to take those factors into consideration. And, despite some starry-eyed claims, few employers are likely to hand out significant pay increases to compensate employees for their lost benefits—particularly in our renewed Obama Recession. Numerous businesses are lucky to meet their bottom line as it is, and will need any savings to pay for the latest Executive Order penalizing them for various crimes against the President’s ideology.

In a very limited sense it may seem logical that employer-provided health benefits are coming to an end. It never really made economic or health sense for employers to be the locus of healthcare decisions. But those looking for silver linings in the Obamacare storm clouds will need to keep looking, unless they, like Nancy Pelosi and too many others, see riches in the move to socialized medicine itself.

One thing we know: Obamacare is causing employees to lose a significant benefit of employment. Another thing we know? There is no “free market” of health care providers and insurers waiting for those (us!) workers to dive into when our employers cut us off. There is no chance that, on entering these “exchanges,” we will find better care at less cost—or as good a care at as good a cost. Instead we are being forced into an ever-tightening “market” of hyper-regulated health services. Insurers participating in the various government-managed “markets” must abide by a stringent set of rules dictating inclusion of various conditions, services and products (e.g. contraception and abortifacient drugs) in the package. The goal, after all, is to force those who have coverage to subsidize those who don’t. And this means that we must pay extra for the subsidy and, far worse, pay so that other people can have cheaper access to products and services that undermine our most deeply held values. “Lifestyle” apparently is now a matter of health as well as individual rights, such that we all must subsidize other people’s “choices,” so long as the government finds those choices worthy.

Financially, this type of program simply cannot work. It imposes costs on some to subsidize, not just the poor, but those who want to access to, or merely the mainstreaming of, various practices (e.g. sex-change procedures). By its very nature such a program is simply too expensive. This, after all, is why Obamacare from the start rested on forcing healthy young people to make the bad deal of entering into the system—to subsidize us older, less healthy people.

We are, of course, being told that the system can work. And yet, figures like Pelosi clearly know this is not the case, and do not care. Why not? Because the “solution” is something they wanted in the first place: the so-called “single payer” solution. The “single payer” is, of course, the government, and the “solution” is government-run healthcare.

What we will experience in the coming years is a desperate attempt by the upper middle class to stay out of the system through various supplemental plans (the rich will simply pay private doctors and ignore the system). Most of us will be dumped into the system by our employers—even perfectly decent, caring employers—and so experience increasingly long lines, decreasing standards of care, and ever-higher levels of bureaucratic humiliation and incompetence. And the answer to the worsening problem will always be another layer of oversight and regulation, until, sooner than one might think, the whole thing will collapse into a government run system in everything but name. You may be able to pick your plan, among the two or three available. But the regulations and the services will be essentially the same. Americans have never liked the term socialism, so the government will avoid using the name; but we will have the fact.

At the moment the goal is to cover pretty much everyone, and everything of which Obama and Pelosi approve. But the “coverage” already is proving more theoretical than real, and it will become ever more threadbare as time goes on. The inevitable trend will be toward ever fewer choices, dominated by what politicians think should be in the system and constrained by corrupt budget processes, corrupt administrators, and of course, in the final analysis, a smidgen of financial reality.

The actual solution to our healthcare problem—reinvigoration of free markets and our charitable sector through elimination of most existing regulations so that all of us have more choice and more power to protect ourselves and those who cannot protect themselves—is all but unattainable at this stage. Now that we have come to assume, as a nation, that everyone is “entitled” to x service, we naturally assume, as a nation, that only the government can guarantee provision of that service. Once a people accepts such logic, it no longer is capable of exercising and protecting its freedom.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.  

The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility.

Leave a Comment
Print Friendly, PDF & Email