Barack Obama promised that his “Obamacare” program would cut people’s health care costs in half. But health care costs are higher, not lower, than when he took office. He broke his promise in two ways. Premiums have risen, because the costs behind them have risen, too.
Obamacare premiums rise
John Merline of Investors Business Daily has the scoop on health care premiums before and after Obamacare became law. Merline cites the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey. That survey shows that health care premiums for a typical worker and family have gone up $3,065 from 2008 to 2012. That’s a 24 percent rise.
What’s more, premiums climbed faster in Obama’s four years than they did in the previous four under President Bush, the survey data show.
Obama told an audience, watching him debate John McCain, that this would not happen.
The only thing we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed on to you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.
He said that even earlier, in February of 2008. (Watch the embedded video below.) He said that health care costs to patients and families would fall by $2500 in his first term as President.
This memo gave the details:
Investing in health care IT, cutting administrative bloat, and improving management of chronic diseases would cut health costs by $140 billion a year. That would translate into $2,500 in premium savings for families.
But new computers, programs, and the vaunted “electronic medical record” can save only so much money. And none of those policy wonks had the slightest idea of how to “manage chronic disease” any cheaper. Of course, it’s cheaper not to get sick in the first place. When then-Representative Alan Grayson said the Republican plan was
Don’t get sick! And if you do get sick, die quickly!
Grayson had the wrong party. That’s the savings plan under centralized medicine. All that Obamacare will do is give more of the same medicine, without a thought to what’s making people sick today and how people in fact don’t have to get sick.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has opposed ObamaCare from the start, and still does. Of all associations that say they have the doctors’ and patients’ best interests at heart, the AAPS are the only ones who mean what they say.
Obamacare costs rise
That’s the second half of the Obamacare failure. Underlying costs are rising faster than anyone thought (or admitted) they would. Tell someone you’re not going to let him raise his price to cover his costs in future, and he’ll raise his price now in a desperate bid to cover his costs now and in future. And if he still can’t do that, he’ll quit. Or if he doesn’t quit, he’ll “burn out.” And worse: no one will want to go to school to replace him. Under Obamacare, doctors will run short. The doctors who quit medicine won’t be the problem. The doctors who stay on, but do less for their patients, might be. And the would-be doctors who decide not to go into medicine will be the worst problem.
Ayn Rand warned about this fifty-five years ago:
Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.
America will “discover the kind of doctors” that Obamacare will produce. And America will discover how few doctors Obamacare will produce.
And America has already discovered that Obamacare, far from saving money, costs money.
Doctor, doctor! Where are you?
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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