Not Yet the End of the World
Obama’s Health Care passed.
It will cost nearly a trillion dollars, increase demand, reduce supply and show us why efforts to break the fundamental laws of economics fail. Moreover, It will, in the short-term, raise Obama’s popularity – he tied his presidency to this legislation and won and, for good or ill, Americans in general love a winner. Depending on the timing of the economy, it could mitigate some of the losses the Democrats will experience this November and possibly even make it possible for Obama to see a second term.
However, it’s NOT necessarily the end of the world as some conservatives are making out. There ARE a few rays of sunshine to consider before climbing into your bomb shelter and sealing it for the next six years…
Insuring Imaginary People CAN’T Be THAT Expensive
The first thing to consider is the number of people this bill is supposed to help – I believe the current number being bandied about is 32 million (warning – pdf file). However, the number of people who supposedly will be insured are, to a great extent, either people who don’t need insurance in the first place or who already have health insurance but, because of technicalities, get counted as uninsured anyways (See this for an explanation). Now I understand that at least some of the cost is going to be simple government waste, but once you get past that, you have a plan that is covering several million people who don’t actually exist.
Now I’m not exactly sure how much it costs to give an imaginary person a prescription they won’t fill or perform an imaginary operation, and I don’t know exactly how many imaginary people get sick or injured in the course of a year, but it CAN’T be that expensive in terms of REAL dollars! And I figure that any costs in imaginary dollars can be paid with the imaginary tax payments made by Obama’s staff and various Congressmen – Charlie Rangel’s fantasy tax payments alone should cover most of them.
The Uninsured Aren’t Covered Until 2019
Those thirty-two million uninsured do NOT all get covered right away. The estimates are for how many people are supposed to be covered over time and we don’t get to the full number for ten years. And a whole lot can happen between then and now. The bill can get repealed, modified or even made obsolete by some medical breakthrough that wipes out illness and injury. Canada’s health care might improve to the point that we could all go over there for coverage. Mexico might privatize and go the same way. Heck the globe might cool to the point that the land bridge between Alaska and Russia reforms and we can all drive to Moscow for treatment! ANYTHING is possible!
Practically NOBODY will Get Covered Until 2014
That’s the CBO Prediction from the pdf linked to above – between now and then, the legislation is scheduled to cover roughly ONE million people who are currently uninsured. After that, it jumps to Nineteen billion and goes on up to the full estimate, but initially, the bill does NOTHING! Of course, there are reasons for the delay, nobody really wants to do anything drastic until they think the economy will get better and, of course, it just makes sense to try to schedule events so a major general election AFTER a whole lot of people get insured, but BEFORE the costs of that insurance come to light.
NO Public Option!
At least we didn’t take THAT step!
The Fight is NOT Over
Challenges to the bill are already under way – the most interesting one I have seen so far is legislation among several states “opting out” of the mandatory enrollment clause. Basically, these states are picking a fight with the government over whether the Supremacy Clause or the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution is the higher law. If the supreme court hears a case on the United states vs. one of the states and finds the latter to be the case – and considering the makeup of the current court, that IS a possibility – the “Universal” part of Obama’s Universal Health Care is untenable. And without the young and healthy being forced to pay for the old and decrepit, the entire plan is likely to fall apart as well.
If the Economy Cooperates – This destroys the Democratic Majority in the House
The Republicans are already predicting the end of the Democratic party in 2012. I feel that if the economy holds together through November, the Democrats can survive by saying “see! We have Universal Health Care and everything is fine!” If, however, the economy takes a downturn this year – even a moderately benign one – it will be seen by the country as proof of the destructiveness of Obamacare and the voters WILL retaliate. Of course, Vox Day may be right and the republicans voted in can be just as worthless as the democrats currently there, but I still think the old adage applies here – “When in doubt, Vote ’em out!”