Although there are literally hundreds of things wrong with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–aka “Obamacare,” the most fundamental error is the quite foolish notion that making insurance more available (albeit not necessarily more affordable) was somehow the biggest problem facing our failing health care system.
For the record, the biggest problem with our health care system is that we pay way too much (by far the most in the world) for generally poor to mediocre outcomes. That can be a subject for another day. For now, let’s destroy the insurance meme, with an analogy…
Imagine for a moment that there was a horrendous crisis involving house fires. Destruction and injury were rampant. The root causes were manifold, and many people were dying.
Imagine further that the brilliant political solution to this problem did not involve hiring more firefighters, nor even any efforts toward fire prevention. Rather, the Government decided that more fire insurance was the answer. To spread the burden, even if you did not own a house, you still had to obtain insurance or face a penalty (sorry, a tax). A massive bureaucracy would be put in place to ensure that any work done to fix your home had to be performed in accordance with certain guidelines and for a certain price. Don’t try asking for anything off the page.
Meanwhile, houses would continue to burn, people would continue to die, and the underlying situation would not be improved in any measurable way. Some home rebuilding “providers” would find ways to game the system, so the bureaucracy would have to expand to monitor the fraud while making it even more difficult to get your home rebuilt at an ever-increasing cost. Likewise, honest providers would simply gear their projects toward those home-rebuilding “procedures” that were more remunerative, rather than what might be best for the homeowner.
The only possible result of this madness is ever-increasing costs for ever-worsening outcomes.
Now, imagine you’re not imagining. Except that instead of a house fire crisis, we have ourselves a legitimate health care crisis that is being addressed in this same manner.
There is simply not enough money in the world—under any conceivable scheme—to support the prevailing disease care model (as used here and everywhere else) of health care. This model exists only because under the current rubrics, there is far more revenue in treating acute disease than there is in health maintenance and disease prevention. As such, elaborate chicanery and pettifoggery has to be put in place to at least give the illusion that a disease care model is sustainable. Thus…the huge tax increase—finally labeled as such by Johnnie Roberts—that is the PPACA.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath