NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 14, 2009

Instead of reintroducing concepts like competition and personal responsibility as a way to bring down health costs and make coverage more affordable, ObamaCare relies on coercion and taxation to pursue these same goals less efficiently. Here are several reasons why no proposal built on this foundation deserves to pass, says Stephen Spruiell of National Review Online.

A stronger Internal Revenue Service:

  • Over 30 new federal programs, agencies, and commissions would be required to administer the massive new health care entitlement.
  • ObamaCare would establish a "Health Choices Administration" to dictate what your insurance plan can and cannot cover and a "Health Benefits Advisory Committee" to guide these "choices."
  • If the government decides your choices are not acceptable, ObamaCare gives the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the power to levy substantial fines against you.
  • The IRS would have to coordinate with the Health Choices Commissioner and whatever other officials are deemed necessary to decide whether your coverage meets the government's minimum standard; that means the IRS will be sharing your tax records with Obama's health czars, who could use them in new and intrusive ways.

 "Managed Competition" (a.k.a. "Government Control"):

  • In the early 1990s, the buzzword was "managed competition," which in the context of HillaryCare meant "government control"; today, the buzzword is back and it still means the same thing.
  • Whether this public option takes the form of a federal-government-run insurance plan or state-sponsored, public-private co-ops, its true purpose would be to serve as a stalking horse for a fully nationalized single-payer system.
  • We are watching this happen right now with student loans and to a lesser extent with Medicare Advantage: The government cooks the books to make it look as if cutting out the private sector would yield tremendous savings; in fact, real savings would come only from cutting out the government.

Government Rationing:

  • This is where Obama care ends -- we know this because we've seen what happened to health-care systems in Canada and Britain.
  • Wherever government fiat replaces private contracting as a method for setting prices, basic problems of supply and demand crop up, and with health care, the problem is almost always too little supply; when third parties pay the bill, consumers lose the incentive to consume rationally and providers lose the incentive to provide efficiently.
  • Supporters of ObamaCare have identified the problem as one of greed and stupidity, but their solution would entrench the third-party-payer system that rewards greed and stupidity; to swim against this tide of incentives will require coercion on a massive scale and rationing.

Source: Stephen Spruiell, "ObamaCare Dissected: Ten things that probably will be in the health-care bill (but shouldn't)," National Review Online, October 13, 2009.


Browse more articles on Health Issues