"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Train Wreck Feature

Max Baucus, one of the key Democratic Senators who drafted Obamacare, is not happy:

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the chamber's powerful Finance Committee and a key architect of the healthcare reform law, said he fears people do not understand how the law will work. 
"I just see a huge train wreck coming down," he told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a Wednesday hearing. "You and I have discussed this many times, and I don't see any results yet." 
Baucus pressed Sebelius for details about how the Health Department will explain the law and raise awareness of its provisions, which are supposed to take effect in just a matter of months. 
"I'm very concerned that not enough is being done so far — very concerned," Baucus said.
Train wreck is putting it mildly.   Obamacare entails (a) higher costs for coverage; (b) higher transaction costs (meaning the bureaucratic headaches and time involved) for getting coverage; (c) low penalties for not being covered (the relatively toothless mandate); (d) disincentives for providing coverage (if you're a small business); and, of course, the famous provision that you can't be turned down for a pre-existing condition.   The combination of higher costs, bureaucratic disincentives, and moral hazard obviously means there will be more uninsured under Obamacare, not fewer..... which was the whole point of the exercise.    Add in the utter confusion of the "exchanges" and you have a disaster.   Did anybody at all in the government stop to think that taking the single most aggravating and complicated and confusing bureaucracy in America (the health care industry) and adding another layer (or set of layers) of additional aggravating and complicated andconfusing bureaucracy (the federal government) wasn't going to work very well?   (Note:  I could have stopped the last sentence with "Did anybody at all in the government stop to think?")

It's almost as if they planned it that way.   Not a bug but a feature, as the kids say.   

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