ObamaCare’s Greatest Risk – Risk-Free Health Care for All
to eliminate risk in business enterprise is futile. Economic progress can be defined as the
ability to take greater risks. The
attempt to eliminate risks, even the attempt to minimize them can only make
them irrational. It can only result in the
greatest risk of all: rigidity.
F. Drucker (1909-2005). Management:
Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, 1973-1974
I believe the greatest risk of ObamaCare is risk-free care. Yet ObamaCare is
intended to minimize, even eliminate risk, for U.S. health are consumers.
This is dangerous as well as futile. It produces economic stagnation. It raises taxes. It
impinges on personal freedom and personal choice. It
discourages innovation. It fixes the
health system in place, and that is dangerous for a dynamic U.S. capitalistic
hiring. It kills imaginative
solutions. Consider the case of Silicon
Valley, the center of America’s electronic ingenuity. In the words of Tom Friedman (“Start-Up
America: Our Best Hope,” New York Times, February
contrast. Silicon Valley: where ideas come to launch. Washington, D.C., where
ideas go to die. Silicon Valley: where
there are no limits to your imagination and failure in the service of
imagination is a virtue. Washington: where the “imagination”to try something
new is now a treatable mental illness covered
"Trying something new," is a synonym for risk.
Yet ObamaCare seeks to
provide risk-free health care for
all. In the process, it stifles innovation and kills imagination
by burdening us with taxes and
strangling us with regulations. It
seeks to eliminate the economic risk of disease
by virtually guaranteeing that no
U.S. citizen will be at financial risk for his/her health care needs. Taking risks, like making a profit, are
minimal conditions for staying in business and are the heart of free-enterprise
One of its most popular features – to force health insurance
companies to accept all comers regardless
of pre-existing illnesses or conditions ends or minimizes risk. Indeed, insurers cannot even ask if an applicant
has any pre-existing problem. It is futile to try to suppress all risk for
covering pre-existing conditions, as shown by a report this week that those
with pre-existing conditions now have
to pay higher costs for drugs.
Insurance, by definition, exists to protect against risk. Insurance is a risk-taking enterprise. If you try to remove all financial risk of
developing disease, to guarantee that all peoples are free of any
financial risk of developing disease, you destroy the reason insurance companies are in
The promise of risk-free health security for all citizens is the central premise
and promise of ObamaCare. It will protect those with pre-existing conditions, children, and young adults up to age 26 under
their parents plans, from risk by making sure they are insured. In the future, it hopes to assure that all people
are insured against risk. Everyone will have equal access to care with equal protections for all.
Government will make free or subsidize care
for the poor, the near poor, and minorities so that they bear no risk. Business will be regulated and fined if it
cover all employees to minimize risk.
Physicians and hospitals, in one way or another, will
provide care at no risk to patients with risk only to themselves. It will do this by leveling the playing
field, by having the Have’s pay for the
Have-Not’s and by redistributing wealth and health benefits to all at no risk.
The only problem with this is that demand for health
services is a bottomless pit. There
is never enough money to insure everyone – to indemnify everyone. We shall all age, we shall all develop chronic
disease, and we shall all die, even if the state insures us all, even if tries
to protect us with “free” preventive tests,
even if it seeks to institute health and wellness programs for us all. Funding demands are inexhaustible. There will never be enough money to go
around. There will never be enough “rich”
or middle class people to pay for care for all.
Sooner or later, as Margaret Thatcher reminded us, we will run out of other peoples’ money. And as Winston Churchill so sagely
observed, “The inherent vice of
capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of
socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."
And for ObamaCare the inherent outcome of policies that
insure and assure us that we will have no risk of disease or its prevention are
economic stagnation and health system rigidity
with loss of health plans, doctors, hospitals, and individual freedom to
chose what level of care and what health care services one wants and needs.
ObamaCare’s greatest risk is that it assigns government the impossible task of
eliminating risks of ill-health
and paying for that risk at no risk to
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