Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Summing Up:  Ten Reasons Why Obamacare Remains Controversial
Still one more thing, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.  This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle or our felicities.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826),  First Inaugural Address,  1801
All human wisdom is summed up in two words – wait and hope.
Alexander Dumas (1802-1870), the Count of Monte Christo
Why is ObamaCare so controversial?  Why are Democrats and Republicans at each other’s throats over forwarding or halting the health law, even though it is likely to be implemented?   We shall have to wait and hope things turn out for the best for most of us.
Here are ten points of controversy.
One,  the Founding Fathers created the Constitution to minimize radical change by inserting checks and balances between the three branches of government.  When Democrats passed ObamaCare  without a single GOP vote, the violated this Constitutional premise by saying in essence, “It’s our way or the highway.” 
Two,  Obamacare, as written, radically changes the health care system,  for better or worse, by giving government the power to set the rules for administering, paying for, and regulating health care,  now nearly one-fifth of the nation’s economy and its fastest growing segment. 
Three,  according to its critics,  ObamaCare threatens and diminishes the individual liberties of all Americans  - physicians, patients, employers, the well, the sick, the young and the old – by mandating  and regulating what they can and cannot do, and advancing the principle that government, not individuals,  know what is best for their welfare. 
Fourth,  ObamaCare sends mixed messages and produces mixed consequences among different economic groups.  Short-term consequences, already apparent,  include rising costs for families, less choice of health plans and doctors,  employer uncertainties,  physician shortages, and a rush of hospitals and doctors to consolidate with resulting cost increases.  Long term-consequence, which  ObamaCare promises to remedy, remain unknown.
Five, because of its long introductory period and its mixed signals, ObamaCare consequences allow ample room for controversy.   The law is not a single coherent program, but a potpourri of mandates,  Medicaid expansions, and regulations that impact different groups of Americans in different ways at different times which leads to differences of opinions. 
Six,  ObamaCare is a political minefield loaded with explosives exemptions, waivers, bear traps, pitfalls, and pratfalls  for political cronies, the most notable and hypocritical  of which are the subsidies provided for Congress and its staff,  who apparently are favored over the rest of us.
Seven,  Obama vowed  a “Transformational Presidency,” a redistribution of health and wealth benefits, as dictated by the people and not the Washington establishment; his presidency has so far not delivered on promises to reduce health costs, improve access, allow one to keep one’s doctor and health plan, to level the playing field rich, middle class, and poor.
Eight,  directly or indirectly, rightly or wrongly,  Obama’s economic and health care policies are perceived to have had a negative effect on economic growth, which has averaged  2% GDP growth, compared to 3% to 4% needed for recovery of financial health and full-time employment enjoyed in previous bounce-backs from previous recessions.
Nine,  the Obama and Democratic argument that ObamaCare  is the law, get over it, move forward, and in time, you will welcome and accept its bountiful benefits, is stale and no longer selling well. It strikes at heart of Americans’  belief in free enterprise.   As I noted in a previous book ,  The Health Reform Maze,
Government may think it knoweth,
What is best for most of us,
But the market bestowth,
What is good for the rest of us.
Ten,  partisan wars  over Obamacare and liberals’ pure faith in government “programs” with Obamacare as the equivalent of Medicare and Social Security as universal antidotes to social ills  will continue to be contested if the economy continues its slow recovery. One man’s macroeconomic fair share is another man’s economic nightmare.  We shall have to wait and hope ObamaCare does not collapse from own faults.  We shall have to wait and hope for the best.

Tweet:  Summing up: ObamaCare’s fate hangs on whether it can deliver on its promises to lower costs, increase access, and improve quality.


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