Obamacare: Inferior Products at Higher Prices
You can keep your plan if you’re willing to pay four times as much
Last week I received nasty but not-entirely-unanticipated news: my insurance carrier, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is amending my current plan effective January 1, 2015.
Come the New Year, I can keep my current plan—a low-premium, high-deductible setup meant to cover major medical expenses and not much else—except it won’t actually be my “current” plan. My premium will be almost quadrupling, from $55 per month to just over $200 per month.
There are a few other options available to me. I could enroll in my employer’s coverage, but that, too, would cost me a little over $200 per month. I could seek insurance through one of the Obamacare exchanges, on which I would qualify for a tax subsidy for my plan, but—so far as I can tell in the dense, unworkable digital jungle of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces—the cheapest plan I could find would jack my deductible up by an enormous $1,350.
This is the essence of Obamacare: delivering inferior products at higher prices. And while it’s been somewhat satisfying to watch the ACA’s disastrous first year, at heart this is a deeply distressing and worrisome sign of things to come. This is your money, your family’s health, and your liberty—all sacrificed so that a bunch of inept bureaucrats could score points wheeling out “healthcare reform” and help you buy things you simply don’t want to buy.
On its face this may seem like a standard, garden-variety failure of progressive statism. But the Obamacare mess isn’t simply a problem of the left; the right is complicit, too.
The star reform effort that Republicans put forward in 2012 proposed a healthcare plan that was, at its core, functionally identical to Obamacare (and lest we forget, as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney implemented what ended up being the blueprint for Obamacare). Things are looking no better in 2014, as even Virginia’s supposedly super-conservative Senate candidate Ed Gillepsie proposes a healthcare reform plan that’s a mess of tax credits, pre-existing condition provisions, and “state-run high risk pools.” Small-government touting politicians seem to have accepted the left’s central premise about healthcare reform: Whatever shape it takes, the state must be in control.
Both conservatives and liberals are avoiding useful and substantial reform efforts in favor of washed-out, middle-of-the-road policies that make every aspect of the healthcare system genuinely worse. But for healthcare reform to have any measurable effect, it needs to be driven by a concrete set of political actions that dispense with the absurdly complicated and overlarge technocratic bureaucracy that has sprung up around Obamacare.