Obamacare = Romneycare = Failure

Got an email today from one of my preferred activist efforts, concerning the effects of Obamacare, and the waivers being issued until they are phased out. DownsizeDC: “Americans Beg for Mercy in front of Unelected Bureaucrats” They reference an article at the Boston Globe, written by John Sununu (who clearly needs to take a class in creative writing. Talk about cludgy wordsmithing) that runs something like this,

Companies now face a September deadline to apply for protection. After that, they’re out of luck. According to the administration, without the special treatment, health care premiums for 3 million workers would have gone up by 10 percent or more. A note to social engineers of all parties: If you have to protect 3 million people from a brand-new law, it probably wasn’t very well written in the first place.

That this was an unintended consequence is clear from the fact that the law never contemplated a need for waivers in the first place. In a stroke of bureaucratic magic, HHS simply granted itself the power, and started dispensing the passes. Only when independent groups started pressing for transparency did things begin to shut down.

The broader lesson here is that the constant need for special waivers is symptomatic of poorly written public policy. It’s a signal that the cost of compliance is unreasonably high; the benefits are hard to measure; and either legislators or regulators have failed to do their homework.

John Sununu op-ed If a law doesn’t work, waive it away?

If you want to go to DownsizeDC and send a message to Congress, by all means do so. Save all of us some money, get them to change the laws now, before we spend the next 10 years litigating a system that might work. However, I find this breathless hysteria about Obamacare to be a bit of a yawn. Is it bad law? Probably. It’s yet another over-long bill that doesn’t do what it claims to do, and wasn’t written or read by the legislators who passed it, or the executive who signed it (and who’s name is used to identify it) but the problem with the hysteria over Obamacare is that it is fundamentally the same as Romneycare (or a few other state level insurance systems) and the people who want us to be breathlessly terrified don’t seem to have a real problem with those other programs; in all likelihood because they were created by people from their party, the Republican Party.

When it comes to stories about the problems with the Health care system in the US, I found this article to be more enlightening;

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL candidate Tim Pawlenty was right. While he backed away from the nice term he coined — ObamneyCare — the health reforms enacted by then-governor Mitt Romney in 2006 and President Obama in 2010 have much in common, although both would deny it.

Their main strength is that more people get insured. In Massachusetts, the percentage is up to 98 percent, the highest in the nation. Obama projects that about 95 percent of people will be insured nationally in a decade. But both Romney and Obama punted on crucial issues of cost and deeper systemic reform.


Yet there is a real debate to be had on health insurance, though not between Romney and Obama. On one side, Republican conservatives want to turn government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid into vouchers. Citizens would get a flat sum. If the cost of decent coverage exceeded the voucher, well, good luck. This approach would certainly reduce government costs. It would also reduce care.

On the other side, Democratic liberals point to nations with national health insurance, where the efficiencies are such that everyone is covered for about 10 percent of GDP compared to over 15 percent (and rising) here. Sooner or later, as costs keep exploding, the real choice for America will come down to vouchers versus true universal health insurance. It’s too bad that this debate will be largely offstage next year.

From RomneyCare vs. ObamaCare

In a nutshell, none of the systems work as intended (related this information to you ages ago) and we’re going to have to re-constitute them into something completely different if we want them to work.

The real shame here is, we already wasted a year not-arguing over Obamacare (because we didn’t know what was in it until after it was passed) which was essentially adapted from systems that aren’t working in several states, and we’ll spend an additional several years not-arguing over systems that might work that could replace the systems that are bleeding this country dry. Let’s hope that someone with sense just does what needs to be done at some point, and let’s the rest of us know where we can get access to it.

Personally, I’m tired of the obstructionist political maneuvering, and would relish some real debate over what is really needed to establish universal access to preventative care; as well as some realistically priced health insurance that really did provide insurance for my health, and didn’t just pay my doctor bills each month.

Editor’s note, 2019. Two short years later I wrote this,


Single-payer seems to be the only approach to public health that shows even moderate success. The crucial point seems to be setting the demarcation between what is public health and what is private health that end-users should be expected to pay for directly. I used to joke about health insurance being equatable grocery insurance. Paying a third party to pay the people who actually do the thing you need done. That isn’t going to save you anything. Funding the public health services we need with tax dollars so that they are there when we need them is the cheapest way to deal with preventable disease and emergency/hospital services. If what you are seeking is an elective procedure, then you might well have to pay to have that thing done.

We should be paying people to engage in preventative behaviors. That is the cheapest way to ensure that public health requirements are met.

Author: RAnthony

I'm a freethinking, unapologetic liberal. I'm a former CAD guru with an architectural fetish. I'm a happily married father. I'm also a disabled Meniere's sufferer.

Attacks on arguments offered are appreciated and awaited. Attacks on the author will be deleted.

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