Read Part I. I’ll be away from the computer a large portion of today and will be slow in answering comments.
Your health care will degrade
Since the deficit will be almost impossibly high, taxes will not be able to be raised fast enough to pay for it. Thus, in the period of ten to twenty years out, politicians will be forced to cut government payouts.
This includes payouts from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. Again, this is not something which is merely probable, but is certain. Demographics alone guarantee this.
Health care must eventually be “rationed,” in the same sense as it is in other countries with socialized medicine. In effect, those other countries will also suffer, because the States will no longer be available as a destination for superior care. Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams will have to stay home next time he wants heart surgery.
Currently, few to none are denied care, regardless of their financial status. Poor people go to the emergency room for (expensive) routine care, for example. These costs are spread among those with money: already, in effect, people with insurance are already subsidizing those without.
That will continue to be so under Obamacare, where the subsidies are given a new name, but with the addition of two new layers of bureaucracy: one on the business and hospital side, and one on government. The cost savings of shifting people out of the emergency rooms and into offices will be ate up by paperwork. That must mean that service will degrade.
Be clear: poor people aren’t being granted new health, they are being granted a new name for what is already given.
Because this is true, I think predictions about doctor shortages are incorrect in one sense. Since everybody can already have care if they need it, there are, within some range, enough physicians to provide that care.
I mean, there will not be a flood of new patients, because these people are already there, somewhere in the system. What will instead happen is that these people will be redistributed in the system. We will see fewer ER visits for routine care, and more to general practitioners. There could be a doctor shortage in that sense, but that will quickly stabilize.
Doctors will receive less money for their services, and this will persuade some that would opt for that career to do something else. Any trend in availability will be gradual, however, because of the large inertia in the system.
Your liberty will be restricted
Health can mean, and will come to mean, anything which is related to human behavior. Absolutely everything you can think of, or say, or do can be plausibly related to health.
Since the government will be paying the bills, it will feel it has the right to proscribe or tax any behavior that would adversely affect your “health.”
Government especially will call for new sin taxes to pay for the deficit. This will lead to hypocrisy and lying of the highest order. I mean, politicians will know they are lying when they say, “We have to add this health tax on internet usage, because heavy internet use is associated with poor attention in school. We care about the mental health of our children!”
Enjoy the occasional soda pop? No, sir! That’s bad for you. “Waiter, where’s the salt shaker?” “I’m sorry sir. The law won’t allow us to add salt to our food.” Listen to talk radio? That’s bad for your stress level, I’m afraid. The “Fairness” Doctrine will help ease your suffering.
Too much CO2 in the air leads to adverse global warming, which leads to effects too numerous and too horrible to list. Yet the EPA will give it their best effort: it will take decades to do so. My most novel prediction: the number of miles driven per citizen will be limited, with inspections and fees paid for overages.
Favored political groups—“mascots” as economist Thomas Sowell calls them—women desiring abortions, people who want sex changes, drug addicts, and on and on and on, will find a way to squeeze money out of the government.
I have already speculated how homeopaths and other quack medics will seek protection. Perhaps many thought I was exaggerating. But Friday, Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in an interview to explain his vote switch with Fox News reporter Neil Cavuto, said that he looks forward to a “whole new way of” medicine. To include, he said, “complementary and alternative” treatments. Just as I predicted.
All these moves will dramatically increase the Gross National Cynicism and increase the antagonism between special interest groups and citizens, further degrading public life.
Your sense of paternalism will increase
I saved the best for last.
Liberty used to be the most important part of life in the States. For those who are not natives, our heated emotion over this topic might seem strange. But recall that our country began with a provocation infinitely smaller; a trivial tax, which would have been far cheaper to pay for than any rebellion.
We saw it as a question of who would be allowed to decide our fate. We did not want to be dictated to from on high. We wanted to be left alone.
But no more. Increasingly, people see “government” as something other than themselves. They see “government” as an entity that somehow exists independently and can be called upon to fix all ills, even personal ones. Resources appear like magic.
People will not be as quick to think that they or their families can take care of themselves. They will more often go to the government and asked to be looked after.
And they will be.
Read Part I
Update For those who doubt the “every aspect of life” prediction: don’t forget this country once lost its mind with alcohol, even to the extent of modifying the Constitution. What happened before can happen again.