One of life’s real pleasures, though it lessens us to admit it, is when we get to say I told you so.
Nobody in the world, except those who believe in magic, wants health insurance. Most people, except those who like hanging about in waiting rooms, don’t even want health care. People want health. And not everybody wants that. Many people are willing to trade health for other pleasures or risk health for great rewards. Life, these people say, is meant to be lived and not spent cowering in a corner saving up health points…to be spent where? Hell? Heaven?
The government says all people want health all the time and, by gum, it will force them into it whether they want it or not. Hence bans, such as trans fats, and the monstrosity which is Obamacare.
Obamacare commits many fallacies. The first is obvious: health insurance is not health, nor does it guarantee health. The fallacy that insurance equals health is also embraced by a growing number of citizens, who now won’t venture outside without first checking with the government whether they—and therefore you, too—should wear a sweater.
Here’s a conundrum: if people didn’t spend money on health insurance, which disguises and necessarily increases the cost of health care, they would have either saved it for health care or saved or spent it on something else. Which set of people are healthier? Those who bought (expensive) health insurance? Or those who knew they’d have to pay for their own health care? I say the latter: knowing you have to pay changes your behavior, and towards those activities which are more likely to bring you to the level of health you desire (and not all desire high levels of health).
Now you can say many things to this argument, but what you cannot say is that it is certainly false. Just as you cannot say it is certainly true that forcing people into buying (expensive) insurance makes them healthier. People are going to be required, mandated, muscled into spending not just more, but much more. Hello, stress!
From a friend on Facebook, this image, which shows his Humana insurance went from $80 a month to $350 under Obamacare. I’ll leave for homework what shocking percent increase this is. His poor heart! Luckily he has insurance.
Fallacy two: government experts know the precise insurance which is not only best for you, but for your neighbor. Monstrous hubris, here.
Fallacy three: despite what his robedness (yes, robedness) John Roberts said, being forced by law to fork over your money to another private citizen is not a tax. It is extortion. The mafia was never as efficient. It is crony capitalism at its purest, most vile. Just you watch the bottom lines of insurance companies. Bonuses for everybody!
But enough. Let’s see how our predictions fared, keeping in mind that the other penny hasn’t dropped. That is, the employer mandate strikes next year, which effects more people.
Back in March of 2010 we made a forecast of the fun which would befall us when Obamacare hit. Lots of material here, so we’ll only cover the two main posts which were entitled “Obamacare Predictions” (Part I, Part II). I introduced only this caveat:
Here are some things I think will happen if Obamacare is passed. When I say “you” or “your”, I mean “people on average.” Obviously, some people will benefit.
Your insurance costs will increase. Nailed it.
I have tried many times to show that insurance is a bet. You are betting you will get sick and the insurer is betting you won’t. If you do get sick, the insurer pays. If you don’t, you pay. This bet is remade monthly. If you bet you’ll get sick and you already are, you are, in effect, cheating. The insurer has to pay and there is no way that the money you give him will make up for his loss.
Your health costs will increase. Got this one, too. Not only are deductible rising, but so is the cost of care. And so will it continue to rise, too. There’s also words about what will happen when the employer mandate strikes:
You or your employer will face higher insurance premiums. Thus, the extent of your coverage will be shrunk. To keep costs down, you will see higher deductibles, lower limits on payouts and such forth.
The costs of insurance paid by your employer will be offset by either cutting pay, reducing future raises, or most likely by hiring fewer workers in the future. That later will be especially true of large employers.
Your taxes will increase This one is an open question, but surely true. The full force of Obamacare has not yet been felt. However, one this is certain: government spending, as we predicted, has increased. Tax increases must inevitably follow, so this prediction will eventually come true.
Taxes are already guaranteed to increase to pay for many of Obamacareâ€™s provisions: this is in the bill. But they will increase more than estimated because the bureaucracy must be fed. All experience shows that bureaucracies grow fatter in time, consuming more tax dollars as they do so. There has never been an instance in history where this was not so. Health bureaucracies especially grow quickly.
Your health care will degrade. Haven’t had enough time for this one, either. This is actually quite a technical prediction, and to save space here I’ll assume you have clicked through to Part II and read the prediction in full, which differs from what some pundits are saying.
Health care must eventually be “rationed,” in the same sense as it is in other countries with socialized medicine…Doctors will receive less money for their services, and this will persuade some that would opt for that career to do something else.
Your liberty will be restricted. Oh, baby! Score will bells on. Man, oh man, did I ever tell you so? I did, I did: I did tell you so. I weep over my own prescience.
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.”
Your sense of paternalism will increase. I’m out of superlatives, but if you have any, here’s your chance to use them. I’m worried my hat won’t fit anymore. Oh, I’m so good, so very good.
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.
Although you shouldn’t trust me with presidential predictions (too much wishcasting on my part), everybody should come to a hush, just like in those old stock broker commercials, when it comes to my insights into bureaucracy. When W.M. Briggs forecasts, people listen.
If you’re upset over my crowing, be happy in knowing that my reward shall be a smaller wallet and smaller list of freedoms. Same reward you get, coincidentally.
Further reading Search for Obamacare on this site for plenty of juicy words. But don’t miss Obamacare: Sympathy for Homeopathy?, Supreme Court To Rule On Obamacare for other predictions, Mark Twain On The Dictatorship Of Health, My Failure To Purchase Something In The Market Subjects Me To Regulation, Sandra Fluke Mows The Lawn: A Play In One Act.