One of the biggest myths the Obama administration continues to push is that health care reform is necessary in order to control health care costs for you, the consumer. This is such a blatant lie, I laugh out loud every time they send out one of their spokespersons to repeat it. If only laughter really were the best medicine, we'd have found a cure in the nonsense that is Obamacare.
There are no guarantees health care reform will reduce costs for you, and the government knows it. That's why they are trying to ram it through as quickly as possible. In fact, it will most likely increase costs. How else do you expect insurance companies to cover the expense of high-risk patients with preexisting conditions that they will now be forced to insure? As the president said, "there are no free lunches." Someone has to pay for this and no surprise, it's you and me, hard-working and healthy individuals. If it takes higher premiums and higher taxes down the road, so be it. Obamacare is basically a universal surcharge disguised as "caring for people."
Think about it. If Democrats really cared about how much you have in your pocket to pay for health insurance, they would be in favor of letting you hold on to more of your money. That's called a tax cut. It's the quickest and most effective way to make sure families and individuals can meet their budgetary obligations. But when was the last time you remember a liberal proposing a tax reduction? They'd rather confiscate your wealth and redistribute it as they see fit.
So while the Obama administration talks about saving you money in health care reforms, they're planning tax increases that will eat up any savings you might see. Just this weekend on Meet the Press, Timothy Geithner left the door open for a tax increase on the middle class. You know, the one Obama promised he would never raise, "not even a cent", when he was campaigning for office last year.
Then there's the cap-and-trade legislation that will raise the cost of energy by taxing energy companies, eating into the budgets of small businesses and working families. Last time I checked, all those fancy machines that doctors and hospitals use to treat patients require energy, so if President Obama's crap-and-trade passes, the cost to treat patients will go up. Unless Obama is planning on rationing electricity. Maybe that's what he means when he talks about eliminating unnecessary tests. No more CAT scans, MRIs, heart monitors, dialysis machines, you name it. The energy costs too much!
How can an administration or anyone seriously claim that you pay too much for health care while at the same time trying to increase what you pay for gas and electricity? Or saying you don't pay enough in taxes? Yet they do, because the media lets them get away with it. This is a shell game, plain and simple, a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. No families will see a net increase in the money they bring home under this scheme. The only savings will be for the government. Which we know they will waste.
The fact of the matter is the government has become too involved in health care, killing choice and competition. In fact, 46% of all health care costs in this country are paid by Uncle Sam thanks to Medicaid and Medicare. The government has never set the appropriate amounts of money aside for these entitlement programs, underfunded them from the beginning, and now they are even skimping on payments to the doctors and hospitals who accept them, leaving private insurance to pick up the slack. Not surprisingly, Medicaid and Medicare are bankrupt government solutions sold to us by the same clowns selling us the new solution of universal health care. And they were sold to us for a lot less than they actually cost.
So what do you do when your Ponzi scheme is running out of money? As Bernie Madoff would say, find some new suckers! Enter Obamacare. It forces everyone to enroll in government-regulated insurance (including the public option) or be punished with a tax (2.5% for every uninsured member of your family). It forces businesses who don't supply their employees with health insurance to pay a tax (8%). And by forcing young, healthy people who usually don't have many medical claims into plans with unnecessary coverage and considerably higher premiums than the private sector has ever charged (you know, the evil ones that make a profit) it basically sets up a system like social security (also going broke), that relies on young workers to work harder to pay for the old and unhealthy.
If just Medicaid and Medicare are too expensive and underfunded, you can imagine what will happen when a health care entitlement program is expanded to include tens or hundreds of millions of new participants. We will be burdening ourselves under even greater amounts of debt, as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has articulated. Heck, just for fun, ask a liberal to name one government program that has ever cost less than projected. Might as well make it a hundred dollar bet, because there aren't any.
There's no bending the curve on health care costs unless the government controls actual health care decisions by price fixing and rationing. In fact, that's exactly what the bill that has been proposed in the House is designed to do. It will be sending bureaucrats out and about to monitor procedures, monitor doctors, monitor medical devices, monitor expecting couples and young families, and monitor end-of-life decisions. There's never been so much Big Brother in a bill before. Not in America. Pundit and Pundette has done a great job of breaking down some of the details by providing pertinent page numbers in the 1000 page bill.
Even with rationing, the cost curve will eventually bend the wrong way and snap back to reality. Why else do you think Obama and the Democrats are only asking that the plan be deficit-neutral for the first ten years? Because that's the furthest they could cook the books without looking like Enron. After that, they can't keep the costs down without massive tax increases, as this chart shows. State-controlled health care will be contributing to the deficit in a big way twenty years out.
What does this mean for you, the consumer? Besides less choice, less money in your pocket, and a ballooning federal deficit that your grandkids will inherit? It means inferior service and longer waits, a shortage of ambulances, and lotteries to see a specialist (just ask Great Britain or Canada). These aren't scare tactics. These are real consequences of real governments making health care decisions based on the state's bottom line. And it's exactly what's wrong with Obama's plan, even if it can reduce some people's premiums.
Anyone who tells you otherwise isn't signing up for the public plan, you can count on that. They are the ridiculously wealthy, the politically connected, and the elites, and they will go outside the system for preferential treatment. The same way Fidel Castro traveled abroad for his health care rather than use the single-payer Cuban system, you can expect the same dastardly behavior out of our elected officials. After all, as Obama said in his press conference, he doesn't need the public system. "I have the best health care available. I have doctors following me around everywhere." Lucky him.
You don't reduce the cost of government by adding new entitlement programs that increase bureaucracy and the size of government. You don't reduce the costs to businesses by adding layers of invasive regulation. Obamacare is a massive transfer of wealth from the private sector to the state camouflaged as necessary reform just because it isn't the status quo. Funny, but isn't that the same way we were sold TARP, the government takeover of Chrysler and GM, and the failing stimulus bill? Obama seems to think any proposal is better than the status quo, even if it's handing over massive power to the state. Or I should say especially if it's handing over massive power to the state.
Given a choice, I would prefer to be poor and free rather than wealthy and enslaved. But it looks like state controlled health care will give us a third option: sick, poor, and bounded by bureaucracy.