Prospects on ObamaCare

According to an article at FrontPage Magazine by Tait Trussell, polls show that the public is starting to turn against ObamaCare as people realize what it involves. What this means in particular is the increased taxes for the top 40 percent of the country, and the fact that the figures for the uninsured (the main pretext for having this bill in the first place) are greatly overstated. The idea that the entire country must come under a hideously regimented system, with doctors and patients alike the creatures of a vast all-controlling bureaucracy, with huge fines in the thousands of dollars levied on people who refuse to sign up, with government coercion inserted into every nook and cranny of one-sixth of the economy, the end of anything we would recognize as America, and all in order to make sure that a small minority of the population that currently has no insurance, has it, is monstrous. The more I read about this bill, the more I am persuaded of the sheer evil and malignity of the left. But why should I be surprised? Haven’t I said that leftism is the political form of evil?

Trussell’s article, unlike many I’ve read lately, is hopeful rather than appalled. He thinks the public will rise up against this crazy scheme and force the Congress to back away from it.

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Mark P. writes:

What drives healthcare costs is precisely the level of quality and acces that most Americans receive. Keep in mind that there are three factors in the healthcare market: quality, cost and access. Most medical systems are such that no one pays directly for the healthcare costs that they incur. That means that most medical systems can only maximize, at most, two out of the three factors. For example, America has high quality and high access, but high cost. Canada has high quality and low cost, but low access. The British NHS has low cost, low quality and low access, etc.

American medical reform is almost exclusively focused on cost because most people are very satisfied with the quality of care and access to it (this is why surveys come back showing individual Americans like their insurance plans and doctors.) The trouble is, attempts to lower costs will inevitably affect either cost or access. Since disease is typically a function of age (the body breaks down as people get older), any attempt to lower medical costs must affect the quality of care and access to it by the elderly.

ObamaCare must, therefore, be a reduction of healthcare access by the elderly (American doctors are not going to reduce quality.) This is mathematically certain.

One final point. American medicine already has large elements of socialism in it. There really is not much in the way of free markets. For example, prices are not advertised, doctor’s pay scales are fixed, and hospitals charge different prices to different people. So the threat of medical reform has nothing to do with more socialism. It has to do with more rationing.

LA replies:

I agree with everything you said except your last point. This is not just about controlling costs. This is about an order-of-magnitude increase in government-bureaucratic controls and loss of freedom.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 18, 2009 12:50 AM | Send

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