The Affordable Health Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is swooping down on us like a Boeing 747 getting ready to land on SR 99. Once it touches down in 2014, things will never be the same. The 747 won’t be able to take off again, traffic will back up as vehicles try to find a way around it. Things won’t be right until the big plane somehow is disassembled and taken away.
President Obama gets the blame for the legislation, and deserves some of that blame, but the main reason the law will be so cumbersome and expensive is that instead of adopting a simple, single-payer system that characterizes almost every other healthcare system in the industrialized world, Congress decided first to make the world safe for insurers.
The problem Congress had to solve was not quality of medical care. America’s doctors and nurses do terrific jobs. The problem has been, and will continue to be, that the way medical care is financed by private insurers costs more than necessary. Much of the cash stream flowing into medical care gets siphoned off by armies of marketers, managers, actuaries, accountants and other corporate servants before it ever pays for medical procedures, equipment or medicines.
It has been hard to justify all that extra expense. The United States spends more of its gross domestic product on medical care than almost any country, but with outcomes that are seldom any better and often worse than those in other countries.
The Affordable Health Care Act will only worsen that comparison. It will prove to be the Unaffordable Health Care Act. The so-called insurance exchanges, for example, will be an insane way to do business, for the public and insurance companies alike. There are much better models for publicly funded health care — which is what this is morphing into.
Medicare, for example, works smoothly. Private insurers fill in the gaps. Everybody wins. Congress just wasn’t smart enough to see it. Get ready for higher costs and more confusion.