The Impending Train Wreck of ObamaCare
Many have called ObamaCare a train wreck. As it gets closer to implementation, most of its multiple implications are being revealed as terrible. Many Americans have already seen the effects: college graduates are hired only as part-time employees without health benefits; many doctors are saying, "This is my fee; pay it and submit the claims on your own"; and other doctors are refusing to take on new patients. American Thinker interviewed health care experts to get their opinion on why ObamaCare is a disaster.
The White House has delayed the employer mandate for a year. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee chairman, believes that "[t]he White House delay really creates opportunities to show how it is not ready for businesses and families, the two key pillars of this law. The White House actions show this is not workable and embarrassingly not ready. Out of fairness for the workers, the individual mandate should also be delayed. Remember: businesses did not ask for a one-year delay; they asked for a repeal. All the White House has done is to create another year where this bill will be a drag on the economy."
Edmund F. Haislmaier, who is part of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, has worked on health care policy for over twenty years. He warns that there are a number of unintended consequences to this bill. For example, in June, part-time jobs were at an all-time record high while full-time jobs were down. Overall, in 2013, only 130,000 full-time jobs have been added while adding a whooping 557,000 part-time jobs. Haislmaier thinks that employers will adjust to this law in ways that make their net cost-neutral. They will offer insurance with higher deductibles, offer less coverage, or force employees to get insurance through the government exchanges, as well as going the other route by having fewer employees or more part-time employees.
Sydney Williams, who writes for Breitbart.com, believes that "ObamaCare is a red herring to eventually nationalize the health care system. It is part of a deliberate plan to increase dependency on government, which definitively means decreasing personal responsibility. The young and healthy choose not to pay for the premiums. And there are those who do not buy insurance because they realize emergency rooms will rarely turn away a person in need."
Haislmaier agrees, noting that this is not about health care, but rather about welfare, since the vulnerable poor, as he calls them, the low-income, the disabled, and elderly, are already covered. "What this bill is doing is to provide welfare benefits to 85% of adults, most without any dependents, and half within the ages of 19 to 34. In the past, for any able-bodied American adult, the answer was not welfare, but get a job. Compare twenty-five-year-olds in this country versus Europe. In Europe, many have health insurance provided but do not have a job; here, it is reversed."
There is also the Medicaid expansion element of this bill. Built into this legislation is the incentive for employers to have their workers stay on Medicaid, which also keeps wages and hours down. According to Haislmaier, ObamaCare will not fine employers if they do not offer health care to any employee who is able to receive Medicaid.
Another consequence is the creation of a two-tier system. The more affluent will receive better health care. This is from an administration that constantly claimed they support the average American while Republicans support big business. Haislmaier uses the analogy of education to support this view. The affluent are able to buy property in a jurisdiction with a good public school. But imagine that there is educational reform that has the effect of turning every public school into one with illiteracy, violence, and a low graduation rate. The affluent would pull their children out and put them in private schools. He argues that the two-tier system comes about because the affluent will be paying twice, having to pay taxes that go toward education and having to pay the private school. This will be the same regarding health insurance. They will pay the fine and then pay for top-notch doctors. In both cases, lower-income individuals will be forced to receive inadequate services. People who can afford it will have personal choice by paying the "health care freedom tax."
Besides electing an overwhelming House and Senate in 2014 to repeal ObamaCare, what should be the Republican response to ObamaCare? Haislmaier wants to empower the individual to make his choices directly. Another possibility is to implement a program where doctors are on a monthly retainer. This will lower their cost, because they will not need an army of staff to handle the paperwork, with the consequence that the efficiency and quality of medical care will increase. The consumer will become more engaged and educated in the health care process, with the end-result of more transparency and accountability. It will become a consumer-driven market that provides value where the patient will have the choice of the health care he desires.
Congressman Brady feels that any Republican plan should make sure that health care costs are more affordable and create more choices for the individual. He is hoping that any plan will empower the states to eliminate pre-existing conditions, allow for adult children to be on their parents' plan up to a certain age, and enable consumers to buy across state lines. "There should be a health care backpack that a worker can take with him forever. Any person who changes a job, chooses to work at home, or be a stay-at-home mom should be able to take their actual plan and payments with them through their lifetime."
ObamaCare is seen as a train wreck in motion. Because of the way it was structured, once a part is deemed unworkable, all the others facets will fall as well. Congressman Brady believes that "ObamaCare will collapse upon itself. My concern is that it will be later than sooner, and at what damage to our economy." The question is how far off the tracks will it go before it is stopped.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.