The Wall Street Journal recently reported:
“The White House routinely tries to intimidate its health-care critics, but the campaign against McKinsey & Co. is something else. The management consultants attempted to find out how U.S. business will respond to the government restructuring of 17.3% of the economy, Democrats don’t like the results, and so McKinsey must pay with its reputation. The firm’s sin was to canvass some 1,300 companies and report that nearly a third will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ stop offering insurance to employees after 2014, dumping them instead into ObamaCare’s subsidized exchanges ‘ Democrats immediately
blasted the results, attacked McKinsey’s integrity and demanded that it release its methodology and full responses. Nancy-Ann DeParle, the deputy chief of staff who is running ObamaCare from the White House, was withering. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus chimed in with questions like ‘Who are your biggest clients? Do you expect McKinsey & Co. to benefit financially from the results of this survey?’ So this week McKinsey opened its books, and what do you know, the survey was rigorous. Respondents were a representative cross-section of businesses of many sizes and across industries and regions, and the questions were impartial.”
The White House called this a “vindication” of themselves, even though it was actually a vindication of the research they initially condemned. Their reasons for considering it a victory are probably psychological. “We intimidated this company into defending its research, so we did our job.” Obama and his authoritarian cronies like to let Americans know who’s boss.
Whenever somebody is wrong, and won’t admit that they’re wrong, the usual tactic is intimidation. The Obama Administration is wrong about socialized medicine in general, and ObamaCare in particular. What you’re witnessing with this sort of intimidation is their public struggle not to know the truth, and to make sure you don’t know it either.
It’s called evasion by coercion, and it’s the same tactic underlying all dictatorships.
The Wall Street Journal goes on to say:
“The furor says less about McKinsey than about the politically damaging reality of the new law. As the McKinsey survey shows in detail, many businesses may be better off if they drop coverage and pay workers slightly more to compensate for fewer benefits, along with paying the new penalty for not providing insurance. Many workers earning up to $102,000 may also be better off because the ObamaCare subsidies are so much larger than the current tax break for employer coverage. As more people partake of ‘free’ health care, taxpayer costs will explode. Consumers will gradually lose the choice and quality of private insurance for the politically mandated policies that will be offered in most exchanges. Increasing the share of the insurance market operating under Washington command and control will increase costs and distortions in the health markets.”
The truth about ObamaCare is that it destroys what’s left of the private insurance market. It gives employers rational incentives to dump insurance plans and let the government take over the health coverage of the vast majority of citizens. As costs explode from the increase in demand, politicians in both parties will feel compelled to expand the government coverage, not reduce it. In the end, this could leave 90 percent of the population either on Medicare, Medicaid or the ObamaCare subsidized insurance coverage. This will be the middle class entitlement to end all middle class entitlements, and will almost certainly bring the welfare state down once and for all. The welfare state as we know it already costs more than the private sector can produce (hence the massive deficit); ObamaCare will push this deficit into numbers too high to count.
Given the impending bankruptcy of Medicare, how can the government possibly afford to cover the rest of the non-senior population? Incredibly, this question was never addressed by the Democrats and the Obama Administration at the time they pushed through ObamaCare, and their rage and fury over being questioned now shows they will not ever consider it. And don’t you dare question it, either!
What this means for you and I — every one of us potential or actual medical patients — is that government will be the insurance coverage of first and last resort for just about everyone. At best, government will still permit private insurance companies to exist, and fee-for-service doctors to exist. But these islands of private medical care will be few and far between, kind of like elite and expensive private schools in a context where most people are stuck with mediocre (or worse) public schools to educate their children; you know, the “free” schools.
In the long run, brighter days may be ahead. ObamaCare may be the thing that destroys the whole concept of socialized medicine once and for all, as Americans are abruptly pushed into a socialized system that is far worse than the dysfunctional, government-hampered medical market we know today. You’re going to appreciate what we had once your only choice becomes government. You’re going to miss health insurance and managed care as we know it once nearly every doctor works for the government. These doctors will now work for Uncle Sam under a government-subsidized and entirely regulated system, not for their patients in the confines of a private practice. The difference will be more than subtle, and I maintain that most Americans are not remotely ready for it.
Repealing ObamaCare, assuming the Supreme Court does so and even gets to the case by 2014, will not be enough. As Medicare and Medicaid come crashing down in the ever-growing budget crisis, people are going to have to face the fact that medical care isn’t, never was, and never will be “free.”
It will be a painful adjustment process before a free market in medicine reemerges, someday, as the only possible solution. In the meantime, we’re all advised to do our best to stay healthy.