In a article calling for Republicans to dismantle Obamacare piece by piece, the editors of the National Review describe in concise form the metastasizing horrors of the legislation that we are now really getting to know, as Nancy Pelosi assured us we would, in the time since Congress passed it.
The catastrophe will be so apparent by 2016 that, unlike in 2012, I think, it will become a large and possibly deciding issue in the presidential campaign. In 2012, many voters knew something was wrong, but like a little lump somewhere, the illness was apparent but easily ignored by those unwilling to be bothered. By 2016 it will have invaded every organ of the body politic.
As NR notes, the first manifestation of illness is already with us:
The price tag for Obamacare has gone from shocking to preposterous. In March 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the ten-year cost of the law at $898 billion; by February 2013, that number had climbed to $1.6 trillion, and it is likely that further revisions will be in the upward direction.
Obama famously alleged that the law will not add “one dime” to the deficit. He was right. It’s going to add lots of dimes.
Voters are already getting a taste of higher premiums, which were supposed to be lower premiums.
During the debate over Obamacare, the president and his supporters promised that enacting the law would cause insurance premiums for the typical family to decline by some $2,500 a year. In fact, premiums have continued to go up, now at an accelerated pace.
And costs will continue to rise as the young and healthy decide they’re better off paying the fine for not signing up – and just getting insurance once they become seriously ill. So insurance will increasingly will be for older, sicker people, and costs will continue to rise.
The efforts of the geniuses in the bureaucracy to predict costs and control prices will result in the poor quality health care given Medicaid patients or higher taxes to pay for care, as under Medicare:
Obamacare proposes to control health-care costs by empowering a small panel of unaccountable political appointees — the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — to keep a lid on medical costs by imposing price controls. Medicaid payments are subject to similar price controls, and doctors have responded to low rates of reimbursement by refusing to see Medicaid patients.
Republicans, the article notes, are paying for their relative inattention to the crisis of the uninsured. At least Democrats seemed to care, even if their caring is pointing the country toward the socialization of medicine and in the end, the destruction of a health care system most people are satisfied with.
A better system would allow Americans to shop for insurance in a large, nationwide market, securing for themselves benefits that cannot be stripped away simply because they change jobs, become unemployed, or get sick.
With a functioning market in place, offering assistance through tax benefits or direct subsidies becomes a much simpler set of challenges, as does enacting targeted, narrow regulation to curb the abusive practices toward which the health-insurance industry is occasionally inclined.
Mitt Romney could not credibly oppose Obamacare, because he invented it. If Republicans in 2016 are not enthusiastically selling an alternative, Obamacare will remain the default cure for what ails the U.S. healthcare system, even as it kills the patient.