ObamaCare was supposed to be the crown jewel for Barack Obama’s first term as president. Instead, for the most part, our soon-to-be-former President has hid from his behemoth of non-partisan insurance take over.
But just because Obama himself hasn’t really taken up for his own legislation – in part because polls right now show people think Romney is better suited to tackle the issue of health care – the bleeding hearts over at the New York Times will do it for him.
Nicolas Kristof penned this heart-breaking, fallacy-filled piece about how ObamaCare would have saved his friend’s life. The problem is almost none of the assumptions Kristof makes about how the law would affect the average person is even close to correct.
John Goodman explains Kristof’s folly in a piece for Forbes and it serves as an archetype argument against ObamaCare in general.
The long and short of Kristof’s piece is that a friend of his chose not to buy insurance because of the costs. He eventually developed cancer and passed away.
It’s a sad story, but the substance contained therein is lacking…so you know a liberal wrote it.
Goodman explains that the basic fallacy in this idea of ObamaCare is that somehow mandating insurance would have saved this man’s life. We all have to make choices about our health, whether to buy insurance, whether to take all of the medicine we’re prescribed, whether to go to the emergency room or see our general practice doctor.
Just having insurance doesn’t solve the true effects felt from humans interacting with the system.
Furthermore, plenty of people like Kristof’s friend could still choose not to have insurance. The penalties for a young, healthy person like me are relatively low, although so are the costs of individual plans.
By way of example, at my current job at a small company, the cost of my individual insurance plan is prohibitively high. There are several young people and several much older people at the firm. We buoy their coverage because we’re cheaper to insure. It’s actually more expensive, not less, for me to enter into a group employer-paid plan because the older employees pull my costs up.
As Goodman explains, insurance is not something we get in addition to wages, but rather a substitute for them. There are subsidies for employers who provide insurance, but none for people who buy their own.
Kristof’s friend, like all of us have to, made a choice. ObamaCare doesn’t fix that. I can still be uninsured because the penalties aren’t that excessive, nor does the IRS have a firm grip on how to actually enforce the penalties.
More to the point, having insurance doesn’t ensure you stay healthy. You are your own best friend and worst enemy when it comes to your health. Mandating health insurance doesn’t solve the problem of rising costs because people are still making poor health decisions. They always will.
Unless you want government to decide which screenings and treatments you have to take, that won’t change. Some progressives will probably think that’s a great idea.
But putting sicker people on the insurance doles, doesn’t make my costs go down. The people you’re adding to insurance are the people with pre-existing conditions and the currently uninsured, most of whom work jobs where they aren’t provided insurance, which are, by and large, a lower income cohort.
Much like I brought down the group rates for my company’s insurance, if you pool rates by adding only more sick people, rates have to go up to cover the additional costs.
ObamaCare uses government dollars and those fees, which they won’t possibly be able to collect, to offset some of those costs, but the fact is, the vast majority of the country will see increased costs as a result when we already have systems in place for people who can’t afford coverage.
This is to say nothing of the actual cost of ObamaCare, which will be in the trillions of dollars. And if what you really want is people with pre-existing conditions to be covered, then create a subsidy or a program specifically for those people. It doesn’t make sense for the government to affect everyone’s coverage, but rather just those who most need it.
Luckily, we won’t have to discuss ObamaCare once the first week in January roles around.