In the weeks leading to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the bill received a lot of positive press. While supporters praised its passage as ushering in a new era of …
In the weeks leading to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the bill received a lot of positive press. While supporters praised its passage as ushering in a new era of healthcare affordability, critics warned that government meddling in any market, regardless of the good intentions of such programs, ultimately ends up increasing costs. And that’s exactly what happened.
Insurance premiums skyrocketed, which hit the middle class the hardest, and red tape spread across the entire medical industry. Healthcare is no more affordable or better off than it was prior to 2010 when the ACA was signed into law, and so its costs were wasted.
To this day, the ACA’s most ardent supporters refuse to acknowledge their bill failed to deliver on its promises. They blame lobbying by insurance companies for undermining what they say would have otherwise been an effective bill.
Lobbying by politically favored companies always happens when a bill impacting those companies winds through Congress. This is one of the many pitfalls of thinking that government can make things affordable.
It’s not a disposable feature. It’s an irreparable bug. Politicians get elected by currying favor with special interests. This creates an incentive to make decisions for political reasons and not financial ones.
Congress is once again debating a bill with the same goals as the ACA, but with a price tag that greatly rivals that of Obama’s law.
In the coming budget reconciliation package, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is pushing to allocate astounding amounts of money to basically pump up the ACA. A few of the provisions include $165 billion to expand Obamacare, $370 billion to expand Medicare benefits to include dental, vision, and hearing benefits, $300 billion to expand Medicaid, and $400 billion for home healthcare unions.
The original cost of the ACA was $940 billion — a staggering amount of money — and Sanders’ allocations would total, if passed, $1.3 trillion. It boggles the mind that a nation that is nearly $29 trillion in debt would for a moment consider a bill that would only add to its crushing debt — and which follows the same basic premise of the failed ACA.
To pay for all this federal largesse, the provisions call for cuts to Medicare. They also would allow the feds to “negotiate” drug prices, which is another way to say it will give bureaucrats the power to impose price caps. There are too many historical examples of how price caps lead to shortages, though Venezuela has implemented many of them across all kinds of industries. Before the country descended into complete destitution, with shortages of things like toilet paper long before the COVID pandemic brought that experience to America, Sanders praised Venezuela’s leadership for ushering in a glorious era of economic equality. He’s yet to state unequivocally any reconsideration of his praise of the country’s policies.
Do we really want our healthcare availability and affordability to be based on an ideology with absolutely no capacity for revisiting theories when they fail to deliver?
As the cliché goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. These healthcare provisions are basically, at their heart, the same approach to solving healthcare’s affordability as the ACA. We can expect similar results for a lot more money.
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