Thursday, January 20, 2011

Repealing "Job Killing Obamacare"

Okay, so the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to repeal "job killing Obamacare".  Now what?  Well, basically nothing, that's what.  But I'd like to take a second to parse the phrase du jour in play.

"Job killing"...oh, this is because providing healthcare is supposed to harm small businesses and thus "kill" jobs.  I guess we have to thank the completely unbiased (ouch!  my nose just grew so long that it poked the wall in front of me) U.S. Chamber of Commerce for this bit of wisdom.  Look, there is no doubt that providing healthcare coverage is expensive, but what is the alternative?  The reality of this situation is that people need healthcare coverage.  It is a necessity in our society.  You can argue who should pay for it, but in the end the old Hell's Angels saying applies here:  "ass, grass or gas, nobody rides for free" (with apologies for the crude reference, but I am trying to make a point).

Why not take this to the extreme and get employers completely out of the business of providing healthcare coverage?  You know, I suspect that is probably the underlying desire of some in the ultra pro-business sector.  That is, in my estimation, a horrible idea for one simple reason:  I can't negotiate a better rate for coverage with CIGNA (for example), but my employer can.  I have zero leverage when it comes to talking price with the mega-insurance companies.  You have none too.  That's the dirty little secret of the individual healthcare coverage market.

"Obamacare"...Funny, but I think the only real alternative to requiring individuals to purchase PRIVATE healthcare coverage is to require the creation of GOVERNMENT bureaucracy around healthcare.  Based on the rhetoric you see coming from some fronts, you would believe that President Obama created some U.S. version of the British National Health Service, but the exact opposite is true:  the "reform" passed simply builds up the PRIVATE system of healthcare coverage in this country.  We all know how efficient and effective the PRIVATE system of healthcare coverage is these days.  (*cough* 12% annual healthcare inflation over decades *cough*)


Let's call this one like it is:  it's simply a political "gotcha" designed to appeal to a small sector of the electorate.  This posing by the U.S. House adds NOTHING to the real debate about the best way to deliver effective and efficient healthcare to Americans.  That's right:  Nothing...zero...zilch...nada.  If anything, it's just about creating a pedestal for Republican presidential candidates in 2012.

Yes, argue that the current bill is flawed, because it is in fact flawed.  But where is the alternative?  Simply pointing fingers and engaging in political sloganeering is nothing but an exercise in government at its very, very worst.

2 comments:

JD Curtis said...

Do you think it would have been a good idea for every member of congress to have read the nearly 2,000 pages before passing such a sweeping piece of legislation directly affecting 1/6th of the economy?

Funny, but I think the only real alternative to requiring individuals to purchase PRIVATE healthcare coverage is to require the creation of GOVERNMENT bureaucracy around healthcare

Why not encourage low cost, high deductable insurance coupled with Health Savings Accounts?

That might call for personal responsibility and we can't have that now, can we?

Stephen Albert said...

"Why not encourage low cost, high deductable insurance coupled with Health Savings Accounts?"

JD...from personal experience (and as someone who works in employee benefits), I can tell you that these plans make a lot of sense if you happen to be well employed. single and healthy. On a modest income and have a family with small kids? Be a member of the working poor and have a chronic illness (such as diabetes)? You are out of luck, as no amount of personal responsibility will make a pancreas work, cure cancer or prevent a 9 year old from breaking a leg.

Bottom line...these kinds of plans make balancing a family budget extremely difficult unless you have the financial means.


As for reading the bill I agree. Then again they should also read every line of every defense bill as well. How many members of Congress routinely do that as well?