From the point of view of the rational humble classical liberal, Obamacare sucks.
We rebel against the further intrusion of a narcissistic national government into our lives, as any person would who recognizes the value of liberty and the repeatedly proven harm of collectivism.
Given that the national government constantly takes away liberty, and given that even the Constitution has been unable to defend our liberty against the onslaught of the expanding nation-state, what we should now desire is for that national government to be entirely incompetent.
The NSA is competent in its spying on us. That is scary. Our biggest ally in our quest for freedom now is government incompetence. That is the real reason why so many celebrate the failure of Healthcare.gov. It is not because they are rooting for failure of Obamacare to prove a point. It is because every bit of incompetence in the national government is more freedom for us.
In a wonderful fit of utter incompetence, the writers of Obamacare failed to imagine one of the consequences that is accelerating rapidly: as health insurance costs rise, the clients of the insurance companies are saving money by buying insurance with higher and higher deductibles. To make insurance affordable now, many people accept deductibles of $2000 or even higher. This approaches the catastrophic insurance model that classical liberals have long preferred.
Catastrophic insurance is designed to protect your finances in the event of a health calamity—and this sort of insurance is the cure for the our health care financing woes while still protecting against bankruptcy of the individual. Why? Because if people pay for their own care, up to the level of their insurance kicking in at least, then they will care about the prices that they pay. It is that simple and it is that wonderful!
The patient will bargain, seek out better deals, and comparison shop. Doctors will need to know what they are charging, instead of shrugging when asked. Price competition will appear at the individual level instead of the obscure and distant level of the third party payer. Moral hazard will be less influential and costs will therefore decline. And declining costs—the normal situation in a free market—makes everything more affordable, and therefore more accessible.
Price competition is what brings down prices while maximizing supply and demand balance. Of course price competition is entirely the opposite of the price-control insanity that pours out of CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services), and that was an intrinsic, albeit irksome, desire of the Obamacare writers.
Obamacare may accidentally lead to the establishment of a free market for health care that exists underneath the catastrophic price point of the foolhardy corporatist insurance-mandates. The entire net negative result of Obamacare may be no more than a transfer of wealth from the people to the insurance companies.
Which, one wonders, was probably the real intent.
So, praise be government incompetence. The more incompetence, the better.
John Hunt, MD is the author of “ASSUME THE PHYSICIAN”