One sure way to tell which political lobbies stand to benefit from Obamacare is to note who is supporting it with expensive TV and online ads. I’ve seen commercials sponsored by big Pharma, trial lawyers and now today on Abcnews.com I saw a big fold-out banner ad at the top of the website sponsored by the American Association for Retired People (AARP).
Not being a senior citizen, I haven’t had much exposure to AARP, but when I saw and read the ad, I couldn’t help but think how irresponsible for them to use their influence over seniors to try and push something on them like this with big, bright, colorful, intelligent-sounding but misleading advertising.
Their ad consisted of 5 what they call "myths" about Obamacare that they want to clear up for their members and explain why they are false:
Health care reform will be a government takeover
The details of any healthcare bill are irrelevant. What needs to be considered is only the fact that the government is planning on regulating and hence distorting production and prices, in yet another industry and the historical precedents set by the federal government that never sees a government program die, but rather grow with time. If it won’t be a takeover at first, it will be eventually. Don’t call it a takeover then. Call it taking control, call it regulating, call it whatever you want, it’s government legislation that will force doctors and patients to make decisions about their healthcare that they normally would not make. It introduces the same moral hazard as any and all government regulation.
We can’t afford to fix healthcare in this economic crisis
I agree with AARP on this one. We can do something to address the high costs of healthcare even in hard economic times: get the government out of the healthcare business and address tort reform to prevent frivolous malpractice suites. Both of which would save the government and Americans money.
Healthcare reform will be the end of Medicare
Don’t know much about Medicare except that the U.S. government sold the program in the 1960’s with the lie that by 1990 Medicare would only cost the taxpayers $6 billion. By 1990 it had cost $67 billion in real dollars. If nothing else we can use this as factual historical evidence of government-run healthcare. What more does one need? The government is always wrong with their predictions about anything. Whether it be on purpose, otherwise known as lying, or ignorance. Either way, they need to stop making predictions.
Healthcare reform will lead to rationed health care
All economic goods, which is everything except for air and sunshine, are scarce and need to be rationed somehow. In a market economy that rationing mechanism is price. As an economist who has lived many years in European countries where healthcare is regulated, controlled, provided by the federal government, I can tell you unequivocally that YES, healthcare will end up being rationed not by price but rather by some commission of bureaucrats who will set "guidelines" for who can receive what care. That is in fact the whole purpose of this healthcare reform: to reduce costs, to make costs equitable across social lines. Those artificial costs imposed by government intervention of any kind, will be lower than the true market value and hence we’ll end up with a shortage and of course an excess demand for healthcare. Then healthcare will have to be rationed by other means than price. As with any economic good, as price goes down more of the good is demanded. Of course the cost to people won’t actually go down due to increased taxes, interest on the debt and inflation that will occur so the government can pay for it, but in people’s minds it will be cheaper. So people will go to the doctor for any and all ailments. Dr. offices will become overcrowded so they’ll start going to the ER which will become overcrowded. So the bureaucrats will ration it.
I’ve seen it firsthand. Not a single author of these bills, as far as I know, has ever lived in such a country. They don’t know what they are talking about, pure and simple.
Healthcare reform means the government will make life and death decisions for you
Absolutely, they will. They won’t look at it as such, but that’s what it will be. If someone needs medical care of any kind and they are not free to find a doctor of their choosing from the entire doctor pool but rather are given a list to choose from, and the doctor is forced to only provide a government-influenced schedule of services at set prices then again, the moral hazard issue dominates here. Doctors and patients will make decisions that they otherwise would not make without government intervention. And who’s to say whether they are life or death decisions? Maybe some decisions aren’t, maybe some are. Maybe a doctor would have treated a patient differently which could have prevented or detected early some life-threatening condition, but didn’t due to government regulations. Maybe the patient would have died anyway. Who can say? But one thing for sure, we’ll know that those decisions were not made by the free will of the doctor—patient relationship and so we cannot say that "everything was done to prevent it."
As with all government intervention, the government assumes the role of being our moral compass. They are in a position to dictate to an entire nation of 300 million plus, what is the "right thing to do." Of course they’re true objective is to get votes from people at election time while at the same time, getting as much money and power as possible from special interests, campaign donors and political parties.
Don Cooper [send him mail] is a Florida native, Navy veteran and economist living and working in the Midwest.