It seems that our new President and Congress may be learning a bitter lesson concerning Obamacare. You know Obamacare, that Utopian vision forced upon the American people? A vision of astoundingly expensive healthcare for all, paid for with someone else’s money?
Perhaps forced is a bad word. After all, great segments of American citizenry always seem accepting of populist goodies they don’t have to pay for. Of course, they foolishly fail to realize that such largess creates abject servitude to politicians who promise ever more free stuff, but that is a matter for another time.
Now Mr. President, in his own convoluted reverse populist manner, has promised to end this ticking time bomb and to replace it with something wonderful, something that we all will love. Well friends, therein lies the problem: Obamacare was structured upon shifting sand, its promises were contrary to the basic laws of economics and it was but a matter of time before the system imploded or the country went into failure.
You see, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Sooner or later the bill would come due and the result would be catastrophe for our nation. Sure, it sounds noble to want all citizens to have incredibly high quality healthcare but no economy can withstand the fundamental forces of economic reality. Those forces would sooner or later destroy Obamacare, perhaps causing massive social turmoil and civil upheaval in the process.
So now our new President and Congress are faced with those same economic realities. Unfortunately for them they are also faced with a massive number of citizens who are just getting comfortable with all that free healthcare stuff. Add to that a healthcare industry, flush with cash and lobbyists, that is now getting used to massive government revenues that they know from history will just grow and grow. Without near dictatorial government domination there is absolutely no chance of controlling costs under socialized healthcare such as Obamacare.
Want a case study of what happens when government decides to “help” and starts by opening the spigot to fund a perceived noble venture? Just look at higher education. One can track the start of the explosion of costs in higher education by matching it to the Great Society-type programs that poured in ever expanding Federal funds. The result? Today even public higher education is almost prohibitively expensive to the average student because those pesky economic laws kicked in. Like fertilizer to a plant, Federal funding was quickly matched with ravenous growth in education costs. The result was short term success but now, years after this “government help” began, our people are suffering.
What are our new President and Congressmen and women to do?
Well, from my prospective they really can’t win. Remember how I mentioned that so many Americans like all that free stuff no matter the long-term consequences? When Obamacare was implemented the Democrats took advantage of that characteristic and designed it so that it would seem politically suicidal to undo. Even more cynically, in the process they also destroyed the stable private insurance market so that any attempt to end socialized medicine will take a long time. Unfortunately for our leaders, many of the recent proposals that have been bantered about are nothing more than recasts of Obamacare, trying to solve the political problems but unwisely relying upon structures that are contrary to economic laws.
Historically they have but a little to rely upon. For instance, the foundational strategy for Medicaid simply was to have been a social safety net for women and children who needed support, it was never intended to be a universal high level system of socialized healthcare. Because of its limited size, we could have afforded the original intent. So, our President and Congress now know that moving from a controlled strategy to a wide-open strategy leads us to the verge of financial failure.
Internationally they also have a little to turn to. Today a few countries have full blown socialized systems such as what Obamacare would be destined to morph into. Venezuela and Cuba come to mind and one can’t even buy toilet paper in those countries. Clearly, our leaders know that Obamacare or anything else based upon the same concepts will lead down the path to lower living standards and no hope.
So, what do they do? I have my answer but it would be considered far too radical and impractical because I would abandon Obamacare in total and start from scratch with a structure that achieves a limited social safety net but does so in accordance with universal governing economic principles.
Sadly, I have no other advice for our President and Congress but I certainly wish them well. If one thinks about it, the decisions that they make about this issue may very well determine for generations to come the fate of our Republic. They are burdened with making choices between the Obama Utopia that isn’t and the bitter political pill that unraveling Obamacare would require.
One road is politically easy but the other, requiring great political courage, leads to a stronger nation.