Monday, December 16, 2013

Miscalculations and Missed Predictions In Obamacare

'I'll get you to like Obamacare,
my pretty... and your little
dog too!'
By now, we all know that the rollout of Obamacare has been a disaster.

But what many people don't understand or fully appreciate is why it has been such a disaster.

Let's take a look at why trying to revamp 1/6th of the national economy or close to $2 trillion annually probably wasn't the best thing to try to do in one fell swoop:
  1. Passing any bill on a purely partisan basis without any, zero, nada input from the other side of the political spectrum pretty much insures that when the political tides change (and they always change in America), that bill will be nibbled to death by ducks or flat-out repealed if the pendulum swings as far to the other side as existed when it was passed.
  2. 280 Members of Congress and the US Senate plus a President in the White House and maybe a total of 200 key staff writing and passing a bill have to darn near be modern-day Nostradamuses to be able to predict every contingency in a nation of 310 million people making health decisions every single day to the tune of $2 trillion annually in 2013.
  3. 310 million people is a lot of people. Surely, every single one of them can't be expected to make decisions on a daily basis precisely as the savants who conceived and concocted the PPACA in virtual secrecy before, as Nancy Pelosi infamously declared: 'We have to pass it to see what is in it!' (What the heck?) want them to behave.
  4. Proponents of PPACA expected the vast majority of businesses to just basically lay down and comply with their edit.
  5. Fast food chains and people with lower-wage hourly workers have been slashing payroll and putting workers on 30-hour workweeks to avoid being forced to cover them with corporate health care benefits.
  6. Proponents of PPACA assumed people with individual plans would just sit back and take the cancelation of their 'non-compliant' (sic) HSA plans and just say: 'Ok. I'll do whatever they say. They must be smarter than I am because they know what I need (such as maternity care at age 57) than I do'.
  7. Proponents of PPACA assumed that there would be 'winners' and 'losers' when it came to paying for the new 'ACA-compliant' health plans, whatever that means. 'Winners' would pay less, mostly due to massive federal subsidies paid for by taxpayers; 'Losers' would pay more, mostly because the insurance companies made a deal with the Obama Administration to 'play ball with scarecrow' to get 40 million new federally-subsidized customers and that included making individual plan owners pay far more in premiums. 
  8. Proponents of PPACA presumed that said 'losers' above would keep their mouths shut and just pay the piper without griping. They were wrong. These people forced President Obama to make good on his promise that they could keep their plans if they liked it and they are going to make sure every state insurance commissioner allows them to do as well or else said insurance commissioner will be voted out of office next election.
  9. Proponents of PPACA calculated that it would force health care costs down. What they forgot to do was implement any sort of structural health care reforms in the PPACA such as federal tort reform amongst hundreds of other cost-drivers which would have actually broken the back of medical cost spiral inflation instead of just swept it under the rug.
  10. Proponents of PPACA predicted that young invincibles (so healthy they can't conceive of every getting sick enough to need insurance) would come a'runnin' to sign up for health care once it was available. But these young people....still think they are invincible! So why sign up for health insurance? Pay the paltry $90 tax penalty or maybe not even pay that because there is really no direct enforcement mechanism to collect these tax penalties!

    Many of these young people thought Obamacare was going to be free or darned near free since virtually everything President Obama has promised in the past has been free to those who got the benefits (including Wall Street execs and Detroit labor unions and feckless auto execs)
You sorta get the picture, right? For Obamacare to have had a fighting chance, thousands of things had to go exactly right and in perfect hundreds of millions of people had to act and make decisions precisely as the mensas who conceived and passed the PPACA wanted them to act and make decisions.

Americans are a unique brand of people. For some reason, maybe because of the fact that we have a Declaration of Independence declaring our freedom and a US Constitution guaranteeing that freedom for all time, we Americans feel like we have an inalienable right to be able to make our own decisions, right or wrong, good or bad. We don't want our government telling us what to do and when to do it, certainly not on issues as important or as private as our health care and which doctors we choose to administer it to us.

I just had a colonoscopy and a skin lesion removed last week in 2 separate doctor visits. Think I didn't make sure I was comfortable with each doctor before going in for each procedure?

That is what is 'wrong' with Obamacare at its heart and soul. It has forced people out of their comfort zone with something that is very personal and important. When that happens, Americans tend to get to get rebellious and angry and they fight to change things for the better.

Don't expect this to just 'blow over' no matter how many speeches President Obama delivers on the merits of the ACA from his perspective. In fact, we predict that come the 2014 elections, there will be a groundswell of opposition to anyone who voted for or supported Obamacare such that the 2014 elections will rival the 2010 mid-term elections where a ton of incumbents were swept out because they voted for it in March of 2010.

Once that happens, and the US Senate has 50+ Republican Senators in it, and the filibuster rules have been diminished due to Harry Reid's extreme myopia, that is when you will start to see significant reductions and restrictions in Obamacare and perhaps progress towards restoring some sense in the US health care system.

It might be a very bumpy road for President Obama in the last 2 years of his term in the White House.

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