Posts Tagged ‘obamacare’

Our Screwed Up Health Care System In Two Charts

March 15, 2017

Two charts show the problem with our health care system.

First, from FreedomAndProsperity.org:

And then from the Wall Street Journal:

This is the perverse outcome created by the third-party payer public programs and the tax and regulatory provisions tilted in favor of third-party payer insurance: consumers’ pocketbooks are hit more and more for health care costs despite the fact that consumers pick up less and less of the tab for total health care costs.

Obamacare reinforced this trend with its various regulations. The Republican alternative, which trades subsidies for “tax credits” and punishes consumers for not maintaining third-party coverage, further reinforces the trend. Until true free market reforms (deregulation, ending tax code distortions) are introduced, these trends will only continue.

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Obamacare And Wage Stagnation

January 13, 2016

The National Bureau of Economic Research has a paper on the effects of Obamacare’s dependent care mandate.:

We then explore whether workers bear the cost of the increased cost of health insurance
coverage for these young adults in the form of reduced wages. We exploit variation in state
mandates to cover young adults that existed prior to the passage of the ACA to produce a
difference-in-difference estimate of the amount that wages decreased for workers in states and
firms most affected by the mandate. Our estimates suggest that the effect is approximately
$1,200 per year.

The Latest Supreme Court Obamacare Ruling

June 26, 2015

Score another victory for the conservative legal philosophy of judicial restraint, as Chief Justice Roberts decides to not upset the applecart and let things be. Remember this ruling the next time a Republican candidate/activist tells you control of the Supreme Court is a fundamental reason why you should vote Republican.

This ruling further reinforces the idea of third-party health insurance as the means for paying for everything. Health care inflation will continue like it has for years, except probably at a faster pace than before the “Affordable” Care law was passed.

Why “The Road To Serfdom” Still Resonates

November 17, 2014

I first read Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom in 2007. For whatever reason, TRTS didn’t “wow” me upon first reading, but after recently revisiting the book, I’m now “wowed.” For this post, I’m going to comment on specific passages that resonated strongest upon my second reading.

1. “By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.”

Civil asset forfeiture gives credence to Hayek’s warning. We’re reaching the point where government officials feel no guilt using deception to take the property of innocent middle class people:

• One city attorney called his legal documents a “masterpiece of deception” and has won 96 percent of his forfeiture cases.
• An assistant district attorney takes property, even from owners who have been acquitted, because “people are not found innocent, they are found not guilty.”
• One government official doesn’t want to disclose information about civil forfeiture, because it might become a “bullet-point for people that are trying to fight the program.”
• A prosecutor teaches other attorneys how to take property from innocent people. He even offers this piece of advice, “IF IN DOUBT…TAKE IT!”

The fact that we have a democracy isn’t enough to protect innocent people if the rule of law is disregarded.

2. “From this the individualist concludes that the individuals should be allowed, within defined limits, to follow their own values and preferences rather than somebody else’s…”

Nowhere in this reading does Hayek try to condemn a person’s personal preferences. Compare this to Ayn Rand, who puts boundaries on what can bring you individual happiness. Per Ms. Rand, pursuing “any mindless fraud” will result in the “torture of frustration.”

3. “It is rarely remembered now that socialism in its beginnings was frankly authoritarian. The French writers who laid the foundations of modern socialism had no doubt that their ideas could be put into practice only by strong dictatorial government.”

Political freedom and socialism are not compatible. History has borne this out. Modern trends validate history.

4. “There has never been a worse and more cruel exploitation of one class by another than that of the weaker or less fortunate of a group of producers by the well-established which has been made possible by the “regulation” of competition.”

This is the type of cronyism the Institute for Justice fights every day, as they stand up for teeth-whiteners, food vendors, and taxi drivers (to name just a few examples) against politically-connected business interests. Leave it to the capitalists to smear capitalism.

5. “Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite…”

This tendency of governments was given a title a few years later by Orwell: doublespeak. Examples of doublespeak abound in politics. Both Democrats and Republicans have employed it for rather nefarious ends.

6. “Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people.”

As Jonathan Gruber explained, this is exactly what was done to pass Obamacare.

7. “It is, in fact, in this field that the fascination of vague but popular phrases like “full employment” may well lead to extremely shortsighted measures, and where the categorical and irresponsible “it must be done at all cost” of the single-minded idealist is likely to do the greatest harm.”

This mindset is what led the Democrats to rush through the so-called “stimulus” bill in 2009. “Full employment” was not attained. Again, history shows the poor track record of government spending ‘at all cost’ to create jobs.

8. “The part of the lesson of the recent past which is slowly and gradually being appreciated is that many kinds of economic planning, conducted independently on a national scale, are bound in their aggregate effect to be harmful even from a purely economic point of view…”

Again, modern trends verify this. Historically, there is no better case study than the Soviet Union on how the vile methods of central planning produced fatally dismal results.

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Why does The Road To Serfdom still resonate? Because ideas that have been tried before are being sold to the public again and again using the same arguments and buzzwords Hayek thoroughly debunked in this classic book.

Conservatives would also be wise to heed Hayek’s words, as the government intrusions they promote often produce the type of arbitrary government he staunchly opposed. This could be why Hayek distanced himself from the conservative label.

Obamacare’s Trickle-Down Impact

September 16, 2014

Who could’ve guessed that regulations, mandates, and taxes would have a negative impact on businesses? From Fox News:

Doug Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, said “for the smaller employers — those that have between 20 and 49 employees — you get a negative impact on jobs, you get a negative impact on wages in those jobs. What this means for small business as a whole is over $22 billion of earnings gone for their workers and 350,000 jobs.”

This is an economic recovery?

Obamacare Sticker Shock

October 5, 2013

Some links on pricing under Obamacare:

Per the Manhattan Institute, underlying insurance rates will go up 97-99% for younger men and 55-62% for younger women.

-Americans choosing the low-cost plans under Obamacare will pay an estimated 34% more out-of-pocket for prescription drugs.

-The conservative Breitbart.com reports on comments left on the official Obamacare Facebook page. Whether these comments are cherry-picked or indicative of a widespread problem, I can’t say.

I suppose I’m lucky; I attain health insurance from my employer, and was recently informed that thanks to Obamacare, our insurance premiums will go up only 6%.

Tax Dollars At Work: Indoctrinating Kids On Obamacare

June 29, 2013

Is the state of California concerned with improving the academic achievement of their students?

They have other priorities:

With great excitement, the Los Angeles Unified School District has designed a nearly $1 million program to train teenagers to promote the glories of ObamaCare to parents, relatives and friends at home.

Rest of the story here.

Obamacare Hiking Premiums Already

November 2, 2012

Californians going into the Obamacare insurance exchanges are looking at premiums hikes of up to 25%. What do they expect when these plans require “essential” benefits and impose a “community rating” which will drive up costs on low-risk enrollees in order to prevent “price discrimination” against older Americans.

More on the Obamacare exchanges here.

Health Care Inflation

August 22, 2012

For anyone who seriously believes Obamacare will somehow “bend the cost curve” should take a look at this post by David Boaz. The inflation associated with sectors where government is a major purchaser of a service far outpaces the inflation in the economy as a whole.

Boaz provides a line graph to prove the point. Should we seriously expect this inflation to suddenly be reined in now that the federal government will become even MORE involved in the health care sector?

The Obamacare “Death Panels”

March 16, 2012

In the past, I’ve posted about the so-called “death panels” that Sarah Palin alluded to when she opposed Obamacare.

Nat Hentoff expands on the premise in an article discussing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a component of Obama’s health care “reform.” The IPAB will have the authority to change payment rates under Medicare.

Critics of Obamacare say this will amount to health care rationing, or so-called “death panels” where bureaucrats determine whether or not a person can receive funding to treat a potentially fatal disease.

The “death panel” premise is controversial, but not without merit. Unfortunately, Great Britain has many examples of potentially life-saving procedures getting denied to patients. Canada has its own examples of treatments being denied by panels.

Both of these systems are single-payer. So is Medicare. Is this the future of health care for American senior citizens? Hopefully Obamacare is overturned so we don’t have to find out.