I think it’s more than a little amusing that official Washington is so surprised about the problems with Obamacare. Some of us saw them coming all along. The soaring premiums. The cancellations of millions of policies people were perfectly happy with. The reduction of worker hours because of the mandates in the law.
This was all predictable because actions have consequences, and if you understand how things work, you can often foresee the consequences.
The Obamacare website being a dysfunctional mess was perhaps not quite as easy to see coming. I thought the administration would have had the best technical people on the job from the beginning. And with that much lead time you had to figure the system was thoroughly tested. But the Obama administration doesn't even justify faith in them as tiny as that.
Politics drove this law from the beginning, so why should anyone be shocked that politics and not good operational thinking would drive a decision to launch something that was ill-conceived from the beginning and was not properly tested? Every bit of this was inevitable because Obamacare, at its core, was an attempt by politicians to pass a law banning reality.
People didn’t have health insurance because government policy made it almost impossible to get it except through an employer that could afford to provide it. The only way to solve that would have been for the Congress to unravel 60 years’ worth of irrational policies that created that situation in the first place.
The 60 years could have easily been unraveled by changing the archaic tax code to allow tax deductibility by employees the same as employers. Coverage would have been driven by employee decisions with their money, instead of employer decisions with the boss's money. HSAs would have skyrocketed. (I suspect, by the way, that insurers wanted to keep it the way it is so as not to have to market their products to millions of pesky individuals.)
Obamacare didn’t do that. It simply presumed to say insurers had to provide certain things to people at certain prices because politicians thought it would be better if they did. It did nothing to address the realities that made this economically unfeasible. So, law or no law, it remains economically unfeasible.
And the people being forced to do what they know is not feasible will find ways to mitigate the damage. Insurers cancel policies and increase premiums. That’s obvious. Soon you’ll see doctors leaving the field because Obamacare makes it impossible for them to make a reasonable profit on their practices, especially if they accept Medicaid patients.
You’ll see more and more companies cutting workers and worker hours because, given the options available to them, it makes better business sense to dump people onto the exchanges. It’s not that they like or want to do that. It’s that they have to survive.
The system of healthcare finance in this country was a mess before Obamacare and should have been fixed. I am disappointed that it wasn’t fixed a decade ago when Republicans controlled the White House and Congress. But that is not an excuse for Democrats to pass a law that attempts to defy all economic rationality, and to ignore all the signs that it was a looming disaster — a fact that is now manifestly obvious.
And it’s not enough just to delay the individual mandate, either. Obamacare requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and those folks will sign up no matter how much is wrong with the website. If the rest of the population does not, the health insurers will be put out of business.
No, the only way out of this disaster is to repeal the law — lock, stock, and barrel — then start fresh and look at ways of improving healthcare finance that reflect economic reality. Obamacare does not, which is why it never had a chance of working. Those of us who have been saying so for four years were ignored by the Democrats and marginalized by the media, but we do now have the distinction of having been clearly and undeniably right about all of it.
If they care at all about what’s good for the nation, as opposed to their partisan political interests, this would be a really good time for them to start listening to the truth.
Following the conclusion of his presidential campaign, Herman Cain established The Cain Solutions Revolution, an organization whose mission is to educate the public and advocate for the policy solutions that drove his campaign for the presidency. Read more reports from Herman Cain — Click Here Now.
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