In light of the target date for the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare coming up soon (in June), TOC wanted to revisit a point that the media has glossed over since ObamaCare was first conceptualized. The Democrats have made the claim that ObamaCare will make us all better off and is the right thing to do. (A claim that James Clyburn made – which TOC found offensive – was that passing ObamaCare was the continuation of the Civil Rights movement. This is the same Clyburn that has not stood up for school choice for his or any other constituency). Even more troubling is the stand that the President has taken stating the Supreme Court should approve ObamaCare because it provides “mechanism to ensure those with preexisting conditions get health care,” but provided no rationale for why he felt the law was Constitutional. The Constitutional professor should know that the Constitution provides a framework for us all to agree on what mechanisms are needed as opposed to one supreme leader determining that on his or her own. The court determines if a law is “in bounds” instead of determines if a law is a good thing, and Obama should know that a law’s constitutionality should not lie in its intent (but trusts that the voter does not know this).
The above alone is enough to justify the Supreme Court finding ObamaCare unconstitutional, but TOC would like to address this question of how effective ObamaCare would be otherwise. Does it make us all better off? Let’s explore this in a framework of three points.
First, ObamaCare requires everyone to have access to insurance and be insured at standard cost. We have the implication that insurance gives us access to preventive care, and that preventive care alone makes us more healthy. This leads to the belief that ObamaCare will cut health care costs overall. This is an interesting assumption that seems to be true. As usual, with a liberal argument, you always have to consider good intentions with unintended consequences. Will access to preventive care really cut costs? Are people with access to preventive health care more healthy? We were told constantly that roughly 40 million people do not have access to health care through insurance, but are those people on average less healthy? If there are 40 million without health care, that means there are 270 million with it. I have no proof that the health of these people is significantly better than the health of those without insurance; however, shouldn’t the ones who are proposing to completely overhaul the system provide irrefutable proof of the opposite? On top of that, an unintended consequence can be found in the first two chapters of an Economics book. The law does little to encourage more people to enter general practice medicine; in fact (per the next point), it very well may have presented a deterrent for more people to become primary care providers. With the same number (or fewer) primary care doctors providing care for 40 million more people, does the law of supply and demand not say that costs have to go up? You have increased demand without increasing supply.
Secondly, ObamaCare does not address the need for tort reform. This is not just important because doctors need malpractice insurance (per the above – tort reform could have reduced practice costs and encouraged more people to enter primary care medicine), but also because health care providers sometimes practice defensive medicine. Some estimates of the cost of defensive medicine range up to $60 billion. The Obama administration has insulted our intelligence by suggesting a series of pilot programs to address malpractice cost increases, while they are insisting on a “big bang” approach for the rest of ObamaCare. Texas saw an increase in the total number of physicians practicing in Texas and a decrease in malpractice insurance premiums for doctors after implementing health care. Additionally, states with tort reform have 2.3% lower consumer insurance premiums than states without tort reform.
Finally, we look at the fact that ObamaCare requires everyone to have access to insurance and be insured at standard cost. In other words, insurance companies are required to provide insurance to everyone at a certain cost regardless of pre-existing conditions. One could feel sympathetic for the lady who has unpreventable lymphoma and could believe this requirement makes sense. The trouble arises with those diseases that are preventable, such as Type II Diabetes and lung cancer. Consider that Ezekiel Emmanuel – who advised Obama on health care – believes that up to 40% of cancers can be prevented with diet and exercise. Instead of grandiose, costly proposals such as sugar taxes, could we not just let people have the freedom to monitor their own sugar intake and exercise on their own? A good way to do that without wasting money or imposing on freedoms is to allow people to be accountable. Forcing availability of insurance at standard cost takes away a powerful incentive for people to remain healthy – you do not have to pay more for costly treatments. In the process of trying to assist the patient with Lymphoma, ObamaCare provided a disincentive to the obese junk-food eater to be healthy. Is there a way to help the former while keeping the latter accountable for his or her own health? Perhaps, if there would have been a debate on objective facts during ObamaCare’s construction we could have found a way; however, if you are a Democrat, that would require you to read research and policy papers and . . . proposed bills. Thanks to John Conyers, we know Democrats do not do such things . . .