published Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Hart: Public policy — the real legacy of Obamacare

Ron Hart

Outgoing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hopes Obamacare covers injuries sustained from being shoved out a door.

After magically manufacturing her own low-ball projections of 7 million-plus sign-ups for Obamacare, she high-fives herself, then exits stage far left. She leaves the smoldering ruins of a poorly thought out commandeering of one-seventh of our economy by a bumbling group of ineffective ideologues.

The media coverage was what you would imagine. CBS called her “heroic.” Fox asked for details and accountability. MSNBC called Fox “racist and sexist” for wanting details. CNN built a paper airplane, tossed it around the studio and interviewed experts on Sebelius’ projected flight pattern back to Kansas.

The fact that most mainstream media applauded her tenure was expected. It’s like Cat Fancy Magazine declaring kittens are cuter than puppies.

Sebelius was a dutiful liberal foot soldier for President Barack Obama. When the website rollout proved to be a debacle, she supported Obama’s story that he knew nothing about it. Our president was too busy knowing nothing about the IRS targeting his political opponents, NSA spying on us, and Benghazi.

As a reminder of how Obamacare came about, Democrats crafted this disastrous bill in 2009 when they owned both houses of Congress and the White House. Obamacare violates the very foundation of our Constitution, so most people assumed the courts would strike it down — and most reasonable judges did. Then Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts shocked the country by voting to uphold it.

Obamacare was a solution when there was really not much of a problem. All we needed was tort reform, competition for insurance across state lines, and less — not more — government regulation.

One of the more egregious deceits of Obamacare is that it front-loaded the goodies: kids up to age 26 and preexisting conditions would be covered. Most major spending for Obamacare does not kick in until 2014. Costs and regulations were pushed to the back end. Obamacare is like a flimsy hospital gown: you’re covered up front, but at some point you come to realize that you are very exposed from the rear.

Remember when Obama said it would not add a penny to the deficit? Well, based on the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office numbers, The Weekly Standard said the “Affordable” Care Act will cost $2.6 trillion — and counting. Obama says 8 million people have signed up, but as many as 20 percent have not paid. At least 3.5 million of them already had health insurance policies that were cancelled because of Obamacare. So to insure maybe 4 million people at a cost of $2.6 trillion over 10 years, this monstrosity could cost us $650,000 per person insured.

Obamacare has 20,000 pages of confusing regulations. Obamacare’s price tag does not include $1.1 trillion in additional paperwork, regulations, fraud, angst and jobs lost for us to comply.

Obama now needs his current Budget Director, Sylvia Burwell, to put lipstick on this pig. Future discussions about Obamacare will center on cost overruns, so who better to massage the numbers to Congress than someone who has been doing it for years?

Through executive fiat, Obama changes the rules whenever he feels like it. He was busy picking Michigan State to win the NCAA basketball tournament in a made-for-TV “March Madness” event while Putin was marching and Obamacare was already costing Americans money. But don’t worry, Mr. President. You can just issue an executive order making Michigan State the NCAA basketball champion.

Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com.

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Rickaroo said...

"Obamacare was a solution when there was really not much of a problem."

Mr. Hart has made that comment before. Try telling the 45 million Americans without health insurance (pre-Obamacare) how much of a problem it's not. Just because Mr. Hart and his family are rich enough to afford health insurance or lucky enough to be able to get group insurance through the few remaining companies that still affordably provide it, then it's "not much of a problem?" Just wondering how callous or stupid one has to be to make such an asinine statement. Oh, wait...I forget...the uninsured can always go to the Emergency Room, can't they? I stand corrected. Mr. Hart is indeed spot on. Forty-five million uninsured Americans? No problem. Repeal Obamacare!

And then, to really set things right, let's just do those simple things that Mr. Hart suggests: Number one: tort reform. Never mind that tort reform has never been a significant factor driving health care costs, and never mind that tort reform has been tried in Texas for a number of years now and health care costs there have been reduced by a whopping 0.1% (that's POINT ONE percent - and that's the most favorable of reports; and doctors have not exactly been beating down the doors to practice medicine in Texas, regardless of the tort reform laws), and that Texans with legitimate malpractice claims are finding it almost impossible to take negligent doctors or hospitals to court because most lawyers will not handle such cases now. But tort reform is one of those terms, like supply-side economics, that conservatives like to keep spewing out and believing in, even though they do not work. So, let's just keep on believing and maybe if we all believe hard enough and long enough, they'll work one day. So...no problem. Repeal Obamacare!

And then of course there's always big bad gubmint to blame. Yes, let's just have fewer regulations and those insurance companies will no doubt do the right thing, out of the goodness of their hearts. How dare Obamacare intrude itself into private insurance companies' business and force them to cover people with pre-existing conditions! We all know that those companies would gladly do so on their own if left to their own devices. After all, people' health and lives mean more to them than profits, right? I'm sure they were on the verge of accepting all those people with pre-existing conditions at an affordable rate, and if Obama had just kept his pointy little progressive nose out of their business they would have done it completely on their own. So, once again....no problem. Regulations are just more BIG GUBMINT. Repeal Obamacare!

Republicans have tried how many times now to repeal it? Upwards of 40? 50? Well, don't quit now, guys, maybe 60 is the charm. Anyway, it's not like the U.S. has anything better to worry about, like crumbling roads and bridges and an education system in the toilet and massive unemployment. Keep up the valiant effort, Republicans. Repeal Obamacare!

April 22, 2014 at 4:54 p.m.
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