Over the next 10 years health reform will impose upon us about $1 trillion in new taxes and it will take another $716 billion out of Medicare, imperiling access to care for the elderly and the disabled according to Medicare's Office of the Actuaries.
It will impose a mandate to buy health insurance on most people and fine us if we don't comply. It will compel all but the smallest employers to provide insurance to their employees and fine them if they don't. Since economic theory teaches that workers pay for health benefits with lower wages and fewer non-health benefits, the extra burden will fall hard on middle-income families.
The federal government will regulate the kind of insurance we must have, tell us where we must get it and regulate how much we pay for it as well.
Many will ask, "What are we getting in return for all this?" I would like to turn that question around. After doing all these things, "What problems will be left unsolved?
Costs. Need I even discuss this? I really don't know of anyone not on the White House payroll who today is seriously claiming that costs will be lower because of the Affordable Care Act. And even the White House is now backing away from the claim. As reported in last Saturday's New York Times:
[T]his week the administration cautioned officials to be careful about suggesting that the law would drive down costs.
After extensive research, the administration said it was unwise to tell consumers that they could get "health insurance that fits your budget." That message, it said, is "seen as highly motivational, but not as believable."
Quality. On the very same day, the Times also delivered a stunning blow on the quality front as well. An Institute of Medicine study, requested by the Obama administration, debunked the administration's notion that
Medicare should pay higher levels of reimbursement to areas of the country that deliver measurably good care at low cost and less to regions where costs are high and outcomes are poor…
[T]he authors of the interim report found that there was too much variation within a region to justify a payment policy aimed at all the hospitals and doctors within the area. Just as there were efficient providers in high-cost areas, there were inefficient ones in low-cost areas.
John C. Goodman is President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute, and author of the acclaimed book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the "Father of Health Savings Accounts." He is also the Kellye Wright Fellow in health care. The mission of the Wright Fellowship is to promote a more patient-centered, consumer-driven health care system.