Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is Obamacare a good idea?

The Affordable Care Act, passed by  Congress in 2010 a very bad idea on several levels. Indeed the new law would be a disaster for the American people.

For starters, let’s examine the cost of the law to every American citizen as well as the negative impact the law would have on the economy as a whole. Rep. Paul Ryan estimates that the plan would add $701 billion to the deficit based on an estimated $1.4 trillion in spending over the next 10 years with spending to increase in subsequent years. A large portion of the spending involves $460 billion in subsidies as an inducement for participation in the Obamacare exchanges. The subsidized “free” healthcare encourages unemployment as a job would no longer be needed to get health coverage. Instead, the cost of the insurance would be borne by the taxpayer. This is a gift to big business.

And, incidentally, laws are already in place that prevents an employer from asking about pre-existing health conditions which means that employed people receive such coverage. This is why less than 10 thousand people have applied for Obamacare with pre-existing conditions. Under the Obama plan, the cost of this coverage is transferred from the corporation to the taxpayer, another gift to big business. Republicans have suggested rational alternatives in which the poor and the uninsurable with pre-existing conditions would be covered by a mandatory pool funded by insurance companies on a state level with some subsidies. Under this plan the taxpayer would be off the hook, the insurance companies would have catastrophic cases off their rolls which would drive down premiums, and the bill would still be paid by the insurance companies, not the taxpayer.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the law would result on the loss of 650,000 jobs mostly in the health care industry and related health industries. The law mandates that insurance companies mandate 80% of their revenue to insurance which would put little companies out of business or force them to lay people off, something that is already occurring. This is another gift to big business; in this case the big insurance companies.
Obamacare plans to offer coverage to 30 million Americans through Medicaid which has been a program that has offered block grants to the States, which then provide matching funds, as a means to cover the poor. By expanding the program, Obamacare would transfer funds from Medicaid, a program that has been paid for by working people to cover their health needs upon retirement, to a program that has not been funded. The CBO estimates that the increased government spending on Medicaid under the Obama law would be $75 to $100 billion per year, a bill that would be covered either by a tax increase or an expansion in the national debt. Additionally, the states would be required to increase their spending, and to levy state taxes to cover the expense which is why over 20 states are trying to opt out. Meanwhile Medicare coverage is already being cut back on the elderly.

In fact, through Medicare the government under Obamacare would restrict doctors from providing various treatments and penalizing them if they do. One of the main selling points of Obamacare was that the government would stop this practice by private insurance companies yet the government plan would do the same thing. This would constitute the direct interference by the government into the private doctor-patient relationship. Republicans have proposed regulating the insurance companies while leaving insurance and medicinal decisions, in the hands of the private individual where it belongs. This also constitutes the rationing of healthcare that the defenders of Obamacare have gone to such lengths to deny.

There is much more to examine, but I will leave off by mentioning the most controversial part of Obamacare and that is the mandatory purchase of insurance. This law, which will not save the consumer money, constitutes the first time in American history in which the citizen is required by law to buy something. This centerpiece of Obamacare has already been declared unconstitutional by Virginia Federal Judge Henry Hudson. Let’s hope that more Americans wake up to the constitutional threat that this law poses.

No comments: