This technology is not simply for modeling and prototyping, either. TV personality Jay Leno uses a 3-D printer to make custom and hard-to-find parts from scratch for his collection of classic cars. Entrepreneurs have been using these printers in a myriad of ways, and the trend is speeding up.
The Affordable Care Act creates a new health insurance marketplace (the exchange). But because of the great uncertainty about what buyers will enter the market and who will buy what product, the law creates three vehicles to reduce insurance company risk.
Facts are easy. You can check facts. What supporters of the Affordable Care Act are doing, on the other hand, transcends factual bungling. It’s far more advanced: a warping of reality so debauched it looks like something out of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.
The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self-sufficient.But our systems of state charity — aka welfare — have too frequently had the opposite effect: They have actually created dependency. It is time to rethink the way we help people.I’m going to […]
Recent difficulties with implementing the Affordable Care Act have increased opposition to the program. A majority of Americans now oppose it. Problems with the HealthCare.gov website are in all likelihood temporary. However, there are serious long-term problems, particularly considering long-term finance and labor supply issues. Given the mounting difficulties with and growing concerns about the […]
Do you trust your doctor? Most patients assume their doctor is working in their best medical interests whenever he or she orders a diagnostic test or recommends a particular treatment. Customers might wonder whether an unscrupulous auto mechanic is being truthful when he recommends a brake job or a new transmission. But most patients trust […]
The faces of the Detroit bankruptcy are the thousands of pensioners whose promised benefits are suddenly part of the restructure negotiation. When Motown filed for Chapter 9 last July, the city had $11.5 billion in unsecured liabilities. The vast majority of this was pension and health care benefits owed to retired city employees.The images of […]
So you’ve maneuvered the Obamacare website, plugged in your top-secret information and found out how much you are forced to pay to avoid a fine.And for some of you, it turns out you qualify for a government subsidy — making the premium sound like a bargain. But signing on that line to accept the government’s […]
The New York Times published an interminable article on health care recently. Plenty of facts — how scrupulous are these journalists! — but the article displayed absolutely no comprehension of the basics of cause and effect. I was left wondering about the whole point.The article details how the health care system rewards specialists to an […]
Dr. William C. Padgett is a retired optometrist who has been trying to bring an elderly care facility to Beaufort County, North Carolina, for over a decade.“Our senior citizens,” he laments, “are finding that it is difficult and in many cases impossible to find an appropriate long-term care facility locally.” Though he has received several […]
Professor John H. Cochrane of the University of Chicago had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 25, in which he gave a brief description of (among other things) a market in which individuals buy our own health insurance — and not from an Obamacare exchange.According to Professor Cochrane: “…we should transition to […]
A new survey from Harvard University found a large majority of young Americans do not believe the law will save them money, do not believe it will improve their health, and do not intend to sign up for insurance through the new exchanges.
Liberal supporters of the Affordable Care Act specifically, and big government in general, are quick with excuses for all the problems that Obamacare has been experiencing in these early days. We have heard: they did not have enough time, it’s complicated, it’s the insurance companies’ fault, we just need to make a few adjustments, and […]
I opened a new bottle of probiotics this morning, and it had one of those circular seals on the top. You know, the one that reads, “Sealed for your protection.”And that seal got me thinking… how much protection do we need? How much security is enough?How much homogenization, pasteurization, disinfection, national security, etc…. do we […]
As the fallout continues over the cancellation notices sent to millions of people covered by health plans in the individual insurance market, it is becoming clear that millions more workers and their families are expected to lose their employer-based coverage as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is implemented.According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 156 […]
A president stands disgraced. Congress is scattering. Bureaucrats are baffled. Pundits are reaching. Industry is scared. Politicians are scrambling to do something, anything, to make it better. One political party is in meltdown and the other loving every minute of it, hoping to ride the calamity to electoral gains.The so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care […]
Any married couple that earns more than 400% of the federal poverty level -- that is $62,040 -- or a family of two earns too much for subsidies under Obamacare. But if that same couple lived together unmarried, they could earn up to $45,960 each -- $91,920 total -- and still be eligible for subsidies through the exchanges in New York state.
The president assures us he is not responsible for the wave of health insurance policy cancellations. The insurance companies are. OK, so where is the other side?
The saying goes that things have to get worse before they get better. But with Obamacare, things just keep getting worse — and then they get worse still. In private, even many critics of the law are at least a bit surprised by how poorly the rollout has gone. The question that many are asking […]
Though the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges has dismayed even the law’s supporters, the problem the ACA is designed to address is real enough: Millions of Americans, even those with insurance, lack access to adequate health care. In a voluntary society, civil-sector groups would step up to provide social services, like health […]
It is such a kick to read the transcripts from the White House’s health care “war room” in the first days of release. What a meltdown, and you get to watch it all in real-time.I’m not trying to be cruel to the kindly despots who have wrecked so much of what worked in the existing […]
Obamacare certainly has made history. It has set the record for the fastest-failing Big Government program in world history. This isn’t only about a website flop; it is about the failure of government to accomplish the aims of Obamacare in general, and in a way that has profoundly touched millions of individual lives.“Train wreck” is […]
A handful of reports last week suggested that the Obama administration had moved to delay the health law’s individual mandate — the penalty the law imposes on those who are uninsured. That’s not quite right: Instead, the administration will align the 2014 penalty date, which had been February 15, with the end of Obamacare’s open […]
A common argument made in favor of government-financed health care is that it is inherently cheaper than a private system. Strangely, however, the people who celebrate the government’s ability to hold down health care spending would be horrified at the same argument applied to other public-sector functions. It’s a seriously inconsistent position held by advocates […]
You didn’t want to be the guy chosen to tell Stalin that the wheat crop failed or the production quotas on trucks and cars were not met. Why?Because despots always blame people, not systems.In the same way, you don’t want to be the guy chosen to tell Obama that his health care websites are a […]
Lately, many have characterized this administration as socialist, or having strong socialist leanings. I differ with this characterization. This is not to say Mr. Obama believes in free markets, by any means. On the contrary, he has done and said much that demonstrates his fundamental misunderstanding of and hostility toward the truly free market. But […]
As the health care debate rages on, there is one reality that even the proponents of this hostile takeover of health care by government cannot ignore — and that is money. The government simply does not have the money for a new, expansive, public health care plan.The country is in a deep recession. The last […]
It is such a kick to read the transcripts from the White House’s health care “war room” in the first days of release. What a meltdown, and you get to watch it all in real-time.
I’m not trying to be cruel to the kindly despots who have wrecked so much of what worked in the existing system, only to replace it with an unworkable central plan that’s robbing people all over the country.
But still, there is justice in this humiliation.
Somehow, the Republicans forced the Obama administration to cough up the details, and it is from these transcripts that we discovered the truth about HealthCare.gov’s mysterious first day. Only six people enrolled. That’s six of 7 million people eligible for the great new dawn for “affordable” health care.
It’s no wonder the Obama administration tried to hide the numbers from you. But in a digital age, even the White House can’t keep this stuff secret anymore. Every aspect of reality is logged in real-time.
It’s a double-edged sword. True enough, they are still logging our lives, which is tremendously annoying. But at the same time, they are also logging their own failures. In real-time, nonetheless. And this provides unprecedented insight into many great disasters of our time.
Here is a screenshot I pulled from one such transcript:
If you’re critical of the government, this is a beautiful failure.
Supporters of the president and the health care law in his name see this as a small hiccup. To be sure, people say that all of these problems will be fixed. That the problems with creating an account are mere technical issues. Top technicians from the best companies have all been hired by the government to make it right.
In other words, it’s only a matter of time. Maybe.
But there is a more substantive issue here. The real question is how an epic failure on this scale could have happened in the first place. The Affordable Care Act is the fulfillment of decades of planning on the part of policy professionals. They had a half billion dollars to work with. The so-called “smartest guys in the room” had every incentive to make this rollout work.
So why was it such a mess? This is where things become interesting. Government doesn’t have customers that it serves. It has only subjects that obey. It has no profit and loss statements. It is not limited in its operations by the demand that it behave rationally like other businesses. It can spend what it wants based on political priorities. It has neither the incentive nor the means to anticipate changes in the system or to deal with the uncertainties of the future.
For all these reasons, it really doesn’t matter whether the website is fixed or not. The website is a metaphor for a program that cannot work. If it is fixed, it will be frozen in time, unable to adapt to change, much less improve as technology improves.
The harshest critics are exactly right. The government-backed American health care system will become ever more like the automobiles in Cuba, a living monument to what once was.
Just this weekend, I heard a fascinating lecture by professor Alexei Marcoux of Loyola University in Chicago. He provided some real insight into the mindset that led to the creation of this program. Architects of the ACA expected that a government-made system would work better than the market could work.
It all began about 100 years ago. The government’s first intervention in the medical industry created a regulatory agency for medical schools. And after that, all bets were off. Government was in charge, using “science” to improve the world you live in. The actual effect — and probably the real intent — was to limit the number of people who could call themselves physicians. This, in turn, drove up the price for their services.
How is it that society went hundreds of years without any government intervention in the medical marketplace and then it suddenly came upon us with very little public objection or even awareness?
Professor Marcoux explained in his lecture how the late 19th century saw a tremendous explosion in scientific knowledge in every area. It came with rising prosperity, increased funding for research, and new creativity inspired by commercial ambitions.
It was a natural and normal assumption that every other field of study could benefit from the application of scientific methods and insights. So, therefore, why not the management of human affairs through government? Notice that at the same time we got the beginnings of medical intervention, we also got the income tax (manage wealth!), the Fed (manage money!), antitrust policy (only government knows how big or small business must be), the origins of the welfare state, spreading intervention in education and labor, and so much else.
The pushers of Obamacare had years to plan. Everything looked right on paper. No expense was spared. There were thousands of meetings, a foolproof plan, mountains of numbers to back it all up. Then finally you press the button. The whole thing explodes — and not just the website. The risk pools will not lower premiums. The mandates will not cause people to experience health-insurance bliss. The price controls will not control costs. The new tools for access will not lead to greater access.
Science is glorious. But government is not science, and society cannot be managed scientifically from the center. Ludwig von Mises had a phrase he used to describe every attempt: “planned chaos.” There is a plan, and the experts are in charge with all resources and conviction. But the results are crazy, random, irrational, confusing, and chaotic.
It would be the greatest legacy of the Affordable Care Act if the government finally understands this message. Then we could get back to the old liberal conviction that individuals always and everywhere do a better job in managing their lives. Better than the government, anyway.