Only The Tip of the Iceberg


ACA costs

It seems too easy to pick on Obamacare these days, but a careful review of the warnings by informed market analysts on what the ACA would mean for the healthcare system shows they were well articulated and the results are now coming to pass. This is an excerpt from an article today by economist Michael Boskin printed in the WSJ: ObamaCare’s Troubles Are Only Beginning.

BTW, this can be fixed by applying what we know about competitive private markets. It will not be fixed by trying to circumvent these markets with bureaucratic laws and technocratic engineering.

The repeated assertions by the law’s supporters that nobody but the rich would be worse off was based on a beyond-implausible claim that one could expand by millions the number of people with health insurance, lower health-care costs without rationing, and improve quality. [Blogger note: This was naive wishful thinking at best and otherwise deliberate deceit.] The reality is that any squeezing of insurance-company profits, or reduction in uncompensated emergency-room care amounts to a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars extracted from those people overpaying for insurance, or redistributed from taxpayers.

The Affordable Care Act’s disastrous debut sent the president’s approval ratings into a tailspin and congressional Democrats in competitive districts fleeing for cover. If the law’s continuing unpopularity enables Republicans to regain the Senate in 2014, the president will be forced to veto repeated attempts to repeal the law or to negotiate major changes.

The risk of a complete repeal if a Republican takes the White House in 2016 will put enormous pressure on Democratic candidates—and on Republicans—to articulate a compelling alternative to the cost and coverage problems that beset health care. A good start would be sliding-scale subsidies to help people buy a low-cost catastrophic plan, purchasable across state lines, equalized tax treatment of those buying insurance on their own with those on employer plans, and expanded high-risk pools.

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