Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ObamaCare - Good Thing or Bad Thing?

Things are in the saddle,
And ride mankind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Occasionally, to gain perspective, it helps to sit back and ask the broad questions: Is this a good thing or a bad thing? And to whom and for whom?

The answers, of course, oversimplify complex matters, but they clarify how one feels.

Is ObamaCare, now 4 ½ years old, a good thing or a bad thing?

• To the American public, it is a bad thing, by a margin of 59% to 38%, if you believe in national polls.

• For national debt doomsayers, who say the debt will top $20 trillion when Obama leaves office, it is a bad thing.

• To 15% of uninsured Americans receiving subsidies via ObamaCare health exchanges, it is a good thing for one can get coverage for what ails you.

• To the American middle class, it tends to be a bad thing. It shrinks incomes , boosts taxes, produces part-time employment without benefits, raises health care premiums, and slows economic growth.

• To American hospitals and hospital management companies and their investors, it is a good thing. They are finally being paid to treat those who could not otherwise pay.

• To American physicians, if you believe countless surveys, especially national surveys like those conducted by the Physicians Foundation, it is a bad thing –lowering reimbursements, heightening regulations, reducing autonomy.

• To consumers seeking choice, it is a bad thing- narrowing networks of doctors and hospitals and health plans to choose from.

To big businesses, it can be a good thing, increasing profits, promoting crony capitalism, and elevating stock prices.

For small busineses, it is often a bad thing, increasing costs of covering workers and forcing owners to offer one-size-fits-all health plans.

• To Democrats seeking re-election in red states, it is a bad thing, and for Republicans in those states, it is a good thing.

• To advocates of big government as the patron saint of compassion, it is a good thing. It levels the economic playing fields, reduces income inequality, and redistributes health care benefits

• To opponents of big government as a devil sucking money out of free enterprise, it is a bad thing, strangling innovation and individual initiatives.

• To governors in red states, it is a bad thing, overwhelming their balance sheets by adding to their Medicaid budgets.

• To governors in blue states, it is a good thing, increasing their capacity to care for the Medicaid-aided poor.

• To extremists in both political parties, it is a good and a bad thing. It increases their political leverage at the edges but decreases their credibility in the center. It is, at the same time, too much of a good thing and too much of a bad thing.

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