Photo: The White House
Is Obamacare a prelude to a complete takeover of the health insurance industry?Folks who think like Dennis Kucinich would say “no,” and argue that if anything it’s a counter-productive measure that’s actually a setback on the march towards the final answer. Half-measures are frequently derided with this line of thinking.
But then obviously many folks feel the opposite, that this is a big first step, and certainly not the last step.
Before answering, let’s spell out the one-sentence version of what Obamacare is: Everyone will be required to have health insurance, but it won’t be provided for, instead you’ll have to buy it (the poor will get some subsidies), and the insurance companies won’t be able to exclude folks with pre-existing conditions.
Apparently that took 2000 pages to codify.
There are two reason why this solution is a step towards nationalized health insurance.
The first is that this solution only covers 31 million of the 47 million uninsured (that’s the number that always gets thrown out). So of a population of over 307 million, we’ll have just 16 million uninsured, which is just silly. We’ll have to get them on board soon, and likely with only moderate additional marginal cost. That’s one case for further expansion.
The second reason is that with a captive population forced to buy their mediocre products, the insurers will collect monopoly rents that infuriate the public. With few market checks, tensions will boil, and politicians will pursue a solution. That solution will be the public option.
The public option compared to the current status quo was too big of a leap, but compared to the Obamacare status quo a few years from now, it won’t be. It will be a relatively tiny, incremental change.
The public option won’t equal nationalized healthcare overnight, but it will send us down that road. The die is now cast.
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