Train Wreck Ahead … Most Americans — even those who are legislators — know very little about the details of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, so-called Obamacare. Next year, when it goes into effect, we will learn the hard way. Many people lazily assume that the law will do roughly what it promises: give insurance to the uninsured and lower the cost of health care by limiting spending on dubious procedures. Don't count on it. – Human Events
Dominant Social Theme: What Congress passed regarding health care is probably bad, but eventually things will get better.
Free-Market Analysis: John Stossel is surely a token libertarian, one that the major US media tolerates … perhaps because he is photogenic and perhaps because he has perfected the art of dissenting in a tolerably polite way.
This article in Human Events is a good example of Stossel's approach. It is a bit simplistic in places but in the largest sense it is a pretty good article because it reminds us of the looming disaster that is Obamacare.
What President Barack Obama did with the help of Congress is take the next step – a big step – toward nationalizing health care in the US.
Stossel doesn't say this in so many words but he does remind us that Obamacare is surely a kind of dominant social theme, one that has always been portrayed quietly by the mainstream media if it is reported on at all.
Soon tens of millions of US citizens may be paying MORE for their medical care while receiving fewer benefits and rigid services that don't address the reality of their illnesses. For this, the IRS is expanding to make sure that people will pay "their fair share."
If anyone actually explained what people were paying for, the details no doubt would prove scandalous. And thus a curtain of silence has descended over the whole thing.
Enter Stossel and his dissension. Not bad. Not at all.
Consider just the complexity: The act itself is more than 906 pages long, and again and again in those 906 pages are the words, "the Secretary shall promulgate regulations …"
"Secretary" refers to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Her minions have been busy. They've already added 20,000 pages of rules. They form a stack 7 feet high, and more are to come.
Our old health care system was already a bureaucratic and regulatory nightmare. It had 16,000 different codes for different ailments. Under our new, "improved" system, there will be more than a 100,000.
Government likes to think regulations can account for every possibility. Injured at a chicken coop? The code for that will be Y9272. Fall at an art gallery? That means you are a Y92250. There are three different codes for walking into a lamppost — depending on how often you've walked into lampposts. This is supposed to give government a more precise way to reimburse doctors for treating people and alert us to surges in injuries that might inspire further regulation ….
President Obama didn't kill American free-market health care. It began dying during World War II, when government imposed wage and price controls. At first, companies said, "Great, stability!" But then they realized that they could not attract better workers without raises. So companies got around the rules, as companies do. They gave "benefits," like health insurance.
Government then distorted the market further by giving employer-based health insurance better tax treatment than coverage you buy yourself.
But employer-based insurance is nuts. Many workers feel locked into their jobs. Company insurance largely destroyed the health care free market, since employees rarely shop for the best service at the lowest price.
Now Obamacare may kill what's left of that market …
The reality of what's going is bigger than Stossel describes it. It's part of the inevitable impulse of top globalists to nationalize every human activity and regulate it.
From an investment standpoint Obamacare presents an interesting dilmma. It was obviously created to provide profitability to large US healthcare corporations. But these corporations may have sold government the rope on which they will eventually hang.
These sorts of complex systems never last long. Public opinion will eventually grow rancid and cries for full nationalization will begin to rise.
And yet …
In the short term there is money to be made here, perhaps, by attempting to discern winners and losers. In the short term, some US companies may benefit tremendously.
But pick and choose your spots and pay attention to timing and, of course, the larger market.
Eventually, everyone is going to be a loser, and thanks to Stossel for reminding us. There are plenty of horrible things going on but Obamacare should surely rank up there with the worst of them.
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