Obamacare Catastrophe: Take 1

The centerpiece of President Obama’s new health law is a collection of government-sponsored insurance exchanges, in which people who shop for coverage on their own can purchase health insurance, and gain a taxpayer-funded subsidy if their income is low enough.

The exchanges are set to roll out on October 1, in less than [a week]. In other words, it’s crunch time. And in the [9/20/13] Wall Street Journal came word that the exchange software, for which the government has spent upwards of $88 million, still can’t correctly calculate the amount of subsidies that an individual applicant is eligible for.

“There’s a blanket acknowledgment that rates are being calculated incorrectly,” one senior insurance executive told the WSJ. “Our tech and operations people are very concerned about the problems they’re seeing and the potential of them to stick around.”

‘ In general, when there are problems like this, and the program rolls out anyway, the result is substantial amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse. We already know that the government will be relying on the “honor system” for people to report their incomes, and thereby their eligibility, for exchange subsidies. Combine that with the fact that the exchange software can’t calculate what your subsidy actually is, and the result is that many people will be able to game the system to gain larger subsidies than the law intends.

[Source: Wall Street Journal and cnsnews.com]

And so it begins…Obamacare computer programs are unable to correctly calculate the amount of other people’s money they’re supposed to give away.

Who’s surprised by this?

There are two reasons why Obamacare will fail on its own terms, even if you accept the terms that the government should provide ‘health care for all.’

One, the government is not accountable. Unlike Apple, Google, Amazon.com, Walmart, McDonald’s or any for-profit corporation, the government is a monopoly. Government agencies, in theory, are accountable to Congress. But the vast majority in Congress are not going to defund Obamacare. They will ultimately respond by throwing more money at the problem, like they have done with public schools and other government-created mediocre monstrosities.

Two, the government is giving stuff away for free. Unlike Walmart, Amazon.com or any other for-profit entity, there’s no pressure or incentive to make things right. ‘We’re giving away other people’s money. Who has a right to complain?’ This is the unspoken but entirely rational incentive of the government, from the President on down, since their ‘business’ is simply one of taking money from some people and redistributing it to others. When common criminals do this we (usually) arrest them and put them on trial. When 51 percent of the population does this to 49 percent of the population, we call it noble and ‘the law of the land.’

Obamacare will necessarily fail, even on its own terms. This is not because Obama is a dishonest swindler who would never have risen to this stature were it not for the petty and destructive pressure group warfare that has overtaken our society (even though all this is true). It’s because no unaccountable agency—with the threat of force behind it—who’s giving stuff away for free will ever be accountable for anything. That’s the whole point of opposing Obamacare or any form of socialized medicine in the first place.

We need a government. We need a government to protect private property and individual rights. Our government still does that to some extent, but it’s just as (or more) involved in taking over private industries and stealing from one pressure group to transfer to another. And doing it badly at that! This is precisely what the original American Constitution was created to prevent. For a time it did. But once our legislators began departing from the Constitution in favor of rationalizations along the lines of ‘protecting the general welfare,’ the benefits of that Constitution went out the window.

We’re now witnessing the results of one of those rationalizations in the form of Obamacare.

As the growing disaster of ‘Obamacare’ becomes ever more apparent in the months and years to come, it will be interesting to see if the man whose name is on the product—Barack Obama—is held accountable for the disaster he helped create. He has yet to be held accountable for anything.

Regardless, it should surprise nobody that unaccountable agencies giving stuff away for free fail to do the efficient job that non-governmental sectors of the economy—automobiles, computers, smart phones, jewelry, clothing, restaurants, amusement parks, entertainment media—still manage to accomplish without the public disasters we’re now seeing in health care.

Government gets a free pass the private sector would never enjoy. The double standard is staggering. If McDonald’s or Apple computers screwed up on the scale that Obamacare already has, the outrage and the lawsuits would be deafening. Consumers would flee these companies in droves. Politicians—more little men like Barack Obama, who never held a real job in his life—would rise to power on a wave of hollow, righteous indignation and mindless mob rule.

The government need not worry. They know that most of the public—and perhaps eventually all of the public (aside from the politically connected)—will be stuck with government medicine. Don’t like it? Tough. If it’s the only game in town, where else are you going to go for your medical care? Most will yawn indifferently for now, but not when it comes time to see a doctor.

As for those not (yet) dependent on these government subsidies with the broken-down computer software, their health insurance premiums are going up, up and up. Which means they’ll eventually need these subsidies themselves.

And then there’s Medicare. Obama stole money from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Medicare was floundering and fiscally unsustainable as it was. What are present and forthcoming retirees to do for health care, as the inevitable cuts and downturn in quality of doctor’s services come?

The real question here is: Why is anyone surprised by the Obamacare train wreck? Nothing valuable is free. Heart transplants and cancer treatments are not like candy, to be given away and distributed by unaccountable hacks attempting to do the impossible.

A majority of Americans chose to take a gamble with the most important commodity in society. They won’t like the results, but will they ever acknowledge the nature of their error and the required correction?


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