Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Cracked ObamaCare Crystal Ball

The trouble with crystal balls is that they are made of crystal - a fragile and breakable material.

Ask Nancy Pelosi - the minority leader in the House of Representatives.

Back in 2010, Pelosi said Congress had to pass ObamaCare to find out what was in it, it would become immediately popular, it would quickly generate 400,000 new jobs, and that would lower costs, improve quality, and make for better access.

Later in 2014, she said ObamaCare would not hurt Democrats in the midterms.

Now in 2015, Pelosi is saying if the Supreme Court rejects federal subsidies, “What is the GOP going to do, take away subsidies from the federal health exchanges…that would be really bad news for the Republicans.”

She has a good point. But Pelosi is not a reliable soothsayer. Her crystal ball could be cracked again.

Maybe the GOP can come up with a popular, acceptable alternative to ObamaCare. Maybe the alternative will extend care more than the 4% ObamaCare has converted from uninsured to insured. Maybe it will cost less in premiums and deductibles for more of the people more of the time. Maybe it will offer more choice. Maybe it will cost taxpayers less. Maybe it will shrink rather than expand government.

These are big Maybe’s, but maybe an alternative is worth a try. The alternative will have to answer the questions of what and why and when and how and where and who. And the alterntive will have to serve special interests and general interests and make them compatible . Maybe this can be worked out. Maybe not.

As Adam Smith (1723-1790) foresaw in the Wealth of Nations, those who work in their own self-interests are often the “invisible hand” that promotes the public interest. That is the essence of a capitalist economies. Maybe these economies will prove superior to socialist economies in productivity, as they have in the past.

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