Best of Intentions
By the end of this weekend, it's likely that the Obamacare website will have been cobbled together with a series of kludges. For those who don't work in the software engineering space, kludges are suboptimal patches that enable software to work until significant modifications are required. Then the software fails -- sometimes catastrophically. In fact, even if the website is limping along, a mendacious president and his supporters will claim that "it's working well," and their trained media hamsters will support that contention with little critical analysis. No matter. Their real problems have only begun.
In a detailed analysis of the A.C.A legislation, The Wall Street Journal examines the A,C.A as nothing more that a hidden tax on the Middle Class. WSJ editors write:
Mr. Obama and his liberal allies call the old plans "substandard," but he doesn't mean from the perspective of the consumers who bought them. He means people were free to choose insurance that wasn't designed to serve his social equity and income redistribution goals. In his view, many people must pay first-class fares for coach seats so others can pay less and receive extra benefits.But if you look at it from an income redistribution perspective, it's pure genius. You create unnecessary coverages and use the money saved when people don't use those coverages (e.g., maternity coverage for a middle-aged male) to subsidize free coverage for others. It's a hidden tax on those who can least afford it. It's also enormously dishonest. If this president wants to redistribute income, he should make the argument for that philosophy, establish appropriate taxes, and allow the voters to decide. But the argument cannot be supported with outright lies (as it was before the 2012 elections).
Liberals justify these coercive cross-subsidies as necessary to finance coverage for the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions. But government usually helps the less fortunate honestly by raising taxes to fund programs. In summer 2009, Senate Democrats put out such a bill, and the $1.6 trillion sticker shock led them to hide the transfers by forcing people to buy overpriced products.
Freedom of choice is inherent in the lives of most American's. It allow us to buy what we want when we want it and to forgo a purchase if we feel that we cannot afford it. Obamacare removes choice, and in its place, adds coercion. In addition, it hides the $1.6 trillion cost inside the price of unnecessary insurance coverages. The WSJ comments further:
This political mugging is especially unfair to the people whose plans on the current individual market are being taken away. The majority of these consumers are self-employed or small-business owners. They're middle class, rarely affluent. They took responsibility for their care without government aid, and unlike people in the job-based system, they paid with after-tax dollars.Under this president, 13,000 choices nationwide have been reduced to 4 Obama-sanctioned plans. All with the very best of intentions, of course.
Now they're being punished for the crime of not subsidizing ObamaCare, even though the individual market was never as dysfunctional or high cost as liberals claim. In 2012, average U.S. individual premiums were $190, ranging from a low of $123 in North Dakota to a high of $385 in Massachusetts. Average premiums for family plans fell that year by 0.5% to $412.
Those numbers come from the 13,000 different policies from 180 insurers sold on eHealthInsurance.com, the online shopping brokerage that works. (Technological wonders never cease.) Individuals can make the trade-offs between costs and benefits for themselves. This wide variety is proof that humans don't all want or need the same thing. If they did, there would be no need for a market and government could satisfy everybody.
That is precisely what the Obama health planners believe they can do. Regulators mandated a very rich level of "essential" health benefits that all plans in the individual market must cover, regardless of cost. This year eHealth EHTH +0.29% reported that its data show individual premiums must be 47% higher than the old average to fund the new categories in the individual market.
Meanwhile, ObamaCare's plans are limited to essentially four. Yes, four.
And remember, Obama has postponed the small employer mandate until after the November, 2014 elections—thereby postponing the pain of another 20 - 40 million cancelled policies. This cynical political maneuver is just another example of dishonest politics. But it's business as usual for this president and his administration—all done with the best of intentions, of course.