November 4, 2014

Health Care Interventionism

We have all been well aware of the direction that healthcare in America has been moving for quite some time, of the increasing control that the government has seized. But a large step toward total government control was taken with the introduction of ObamaCare and the Accountable Care Organization under the Affordable Care Act. They promised affordable healthcare for millions of Americans, particularly those that could not afford it before; they promised that this would change the face of American healthcare for the better, providing better care across the board. But this is not what we have seen. (2)

Since it’s enactment, ObamaCare has seen a terribly small increase in the number of those with health insurance (3%) in the face of higher premiums, loss of preferred doctors and health care providers, as well as a stifling effect on employment and an hourly cap that is just below “full time”, which lets employers off the hook for other benefits. (1) Not insignificantly, several major healthcare providers, have refused to pioneer this turn of events, Mayo Clinic going on to say that the programs “are still too complex in their structure and requirements. They are excessively detailed and restrictive in ways that have significantly limited the number of interested groups”. Truer words. The unintended consequences of government control have begun to creep out into the open. (2)

Mises has discussed at length in Economic Policy the effects of price control, and how, more often than anyone wishes to notice or admit, the most severe consequences fall upon those that this government control was intending to assist. Milk, bread, farmers, and feed. The path to socialism is paved with good intentions? Also, he discussed the vicious cycle that is born from just this type of government interventionism. A cycle that can be broken through only the kind of disruption to the system that war causes. California’s Proposition 45 as well as North Dakota’s Measure 17, are both attempting to mitigate the damage already done through even more strident control of the system. (3) I cannot hope that this will be the end, and that the Federal Government will back down from this position of increased intervention, that this will not be an opening door into a cycle that could catapult our country into a dark crevasse of government healthcare.

Is it simply a proud denial, or is it ignorance that perpetuates this course? I couldn’t pretend to know, but I believe that our economic leaders would only benefit from the realization of their own fallacious nature, and of their inadequacy in regards to controlling the delicate healthcare system of our nation, not to mention the far more complex overarching economy itself. Hayek, too, voiced concerns of this nature throughout his life. Words that, if heeded, could have resulted in a much different worldwide economic reality today. 

1)Boudreaux, Donald J. & Zywicki, Todd J. “A Nobel Economist’s Caution About Government.” Opinion. The Wall Street Journal 13 October 2014:  A15. Print.
2)”ObamaCare’s Failing Cost Control.” Opinion. The Wall Street Journal 20 October 2014:  A18.  Print.

3)”ObamaCare Buyers Club.” Opinion. The Wall Street Journal 1-2 November 2014: A12. Print.

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