Obamacare Is the Welfare State’s Requiem, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The title is certainly optimistic, but the writer may not have the correct take on how government works. If failure were to doom the welfare state, it would have failed long ago. Government rewards failure, and Obamacare will almost certainly lead to an even bigger failure: single-payer, nationalized insurance. It will certainly not reduce the government’s role in health care.  Notwithstanding this analytic flaw, this is a good examination and analysis of Obamacare’s failures so far. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at the Foundation for Economic Education, fee.org:

In the hymn for the dead for the Catholic Mass, the text of “Dies Irae” starts, “The day of wrath, that day will dissolve the world in ashes.” For Obamacare, this is that day, and it could portend a future in which the mighty ambitions of the welfare-state shrivel and die.

The crowning achievement became a crown of thorns. Think of how Obamacare was supposed to be the domestic apotheosis of the whole of the Obama presidency. It was passed at the end of term one, and – just to be safe – it waited to be implemented in term two.

It was the culmination of a decade, or really several, of expert opinion on how the national health care industry would be designed. The academics, the opinion makers, the top industry reps all met in endless meetings, hammering out all the details with the D.C. masters of legislation. The power of state would make all things right.

At last, there would be fairness and equality. Justice and efficiency too! All the good things about the American system would persist, only it would be much better. There would be falling premiums because the risk would be distributed. Competition would be managed and not chaotic. And all things would be covered for everyone. No one would slip through the cracks.

The Magic of Law

These days it seems like everything is covered but nothing is covered.And it would all happen because some people signed a huge stack of paper. Imagine that! Ink on paper would achieve the highest hopes of humankind for universal health at bargain prices.

But then, with remarkable speed and ferocity, it all came tumbling down. Unusually in the history of the American welfare state, it happened quickly enough that we could watch it all in one generation, even in one presidential term. The failure of the main website on day one foreshadowed a terrible two years of unrelenting meltdown.

Of course there are still some deniers out there. Paul Krugman is doing for Obamacare what Walter Duranty did for Stalin in the 1930s: obliquely admitting the existence of a few snags along the way but insisting they can be fixed with a firmer enforcement hand. For anyone who has actually tried to purchase health-care coverage on this phony market, matters are very different.

The entire welfare state is a long history of slow-motion crises that took a long time to unfold. Decades went by before it became obvious that Social Security wasn’t really an insurance program but rather a transfer from the young to the old. The money wasn’t even saved. It was just moved. And so it was with Medicaid – completely unsustainable – and food stamps. This is corporate welfare, not really a help for the poor. And foreign aid was the same; it seemed like a good idea, but decades later we know that it is wasteful and destructive.

To continue reading: Obamacare Is the Welfare State’s Requiem


2 responses to “Obamacare Is the Welfare State’s Requiem, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

  1. Robert:

    As if to underscore your lead-in, on Colorado’s ballot is “Amendment 69.” If it passes, Colorado will end the ACA and replace it with a single-payer system of healthcare, administered by a bureaucracy much like is administered by appointed bureaucrats in Brussels on “behalf” of the EU. I personally know 3 younger people who will relocate from Colorado if it should pass, owing, among other reasons, to the sharp increase in taxes required to initially pay for this plan (initial estimates of $25B-plus!)



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