On Tuesday, President Obama signed HR 3200 into law, signaling a major shift in how healthcare services will be delivered in America. Many liberals think this new legislation does not go far enough because it does not include a “public option” or a “single payer system”. As a healthcare provider who deals with insurance companies every day, I can tell those liberals to just be patient. Socialized medicine is coming. This “reform” makes it inevitable.
Let me tell you briefly how I think this will play out.
Very simply, you only need to know the following three things to see where we are headed. First, the law of the land now states that you are required to purchase medical insurance or face a fine of up to 2% of your gross income. Second, the law states that within the next 2-3 years, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny anyone coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Third, as of today, insurance companies have already begun raising their premiums in anticipation of this new law.
Let’s think about this logically. Soon insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage to anyone. This means that in 2-3 years they will begin to pay huge disbursements to millions of people with cancer, HIV, and other terminal diseases that would previously have been denied. Accordingly, the insurance companies will continue to raise their rates in anticipation of these massive payouts. As insurance premiums rise, most businesses will not be able to afford insurance coverage for their employees. They will either drop coverage, downsize drastically, or go out of business. In addition, most of us will figure out that it is cheaper for us just to drop our expensive insurance, pay the government fine, and wait to get sick before buying insurance again; after all, we can’t be denied for a pre-existing illness. Eventually, only those who need insurance for disastrous illnesses will buy it, and, lacking paying healthy customers, the private insurers will go bankrupt. At this point our benevolent government will step in to become the single payer and…
we’ve got ourselves European-style socialized medicine.
President Obama and the Democrats know all this. They know that there was no reason to push for a public option NOW when they can force through a milder bill that will assure a single payer LATER. Very sneaky.
As I see it, this situation is fairly hopeless for the private healthcare industry. There are only three ways out: repeal, the court system, and reclamation of State sovereignty under the 10th amendment. Repeal is unlikely. The Republicans, even if they take back a majority in Congress in November, will not be able or willing to repeal Obamacare. They will lack the numbers to override a Presidential veto, and they will lack the fortitude to refuse to appropriate funds for a popular and entrenched entitlement. By the time the GOP has an opportunity to reclaim the White House in 2012, the welfare state will be so dependent on Obamacare that to repeal it will mean political suicide. The courts are a long shot. Several states filed lawsuits today claiming that HR 3200 is unconstitutional. Several others (including Arkansas) are considering legal action. Needless to say, this litigation will take years to reach the Supreme Court, during which time President Obama will have ample opportunity to stack the court with liberal justices. I just don’t see this being struck down in the courts. Finally we have the 10th amendment. If enough States pass laws blocking Obamacare, we could have hope. But again I consider this to be unlikely. When push comes to shove, I just don’t think the several States have the necessary will to stand up to Uncle Sam.
I only see one other way out, and it isn’t pretty. A full scale economic meltdown, currency crisis, or other such event could derail this legislation. If the United States is suddenly unable to pay for Obamacare, it might go away, especially if we have massive inflation or civil unrest on a large scale. As a libertarian, I find myself almost wishing for this terrible event. It seems to me that the only way the people of the United States will return to limited government is if limited government is forced upon them.
Garret Myhan is a guest contributor to The Arkansas Patriot. He is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist in group practice in Searcy, AR. Garret is married, the father of 3 children, an active blogger, and an advocate for Constitutional limited government. Garret blogs at Sleepy G’s.