President Trump and Paul Ryan tried to improve Obamacare. They failed.
Trump then tweeted, "ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!"
But I do worry.
Trump is right when he says that Obamacare will explode.
The law mandates benefits and offers subsidies to more people. Insurers must cover things like:
- Birth control.
- Alcohol counseling.
- Depression screening.
- Diet counseling.
- Tobacco use screening.
- Breastfeeding counseling.
Some people want those things, but mandating them for everyone drives up costs. It was folly to pretend it wouldn't.
Insisting that lots of things be paid for by someone else is a recipe for financial explosion.
Medicare works that way, too.
When I first qualified for it, I was amazed to find that no one even mentioned cost. It was just, "Have this test!" "See this doctor!"
I liked it. It's great not to think about costs. But that's why Medicare will explode, too. There's no way that, in its current form, it will be around to fund younger people's care.
Someone else paying changes our behavior. We don't shop around. We don't ask, "Do I really need that test?" "Is there a place where it's cheaper?"
Hospitals and doctors don't try very hard to do things cheaply.
Imagine if you had "grocery insurance." You'd buy expensive foods; supermarkets would never have sales. Everyone would spend more.
Insurance coverage -- third-party payment -- is revered by the media and socialists (redundant?) but is a terrible way to pay for things.
Today, 7 in 8 health care dollars are paid by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance companies. Because there's no real health care market, costs rose 467 percent over the last three decades.
By contrast, prices fell in the few medical areas not covered by insurance, like plastic surgery and LASIK eye care. Patients shop around, forcing health providers to compete.
The National Center for Policy Analysis found that from 1999 to 2011 the price of traditional LASIK eye surgery dropped from over $2,100 to about $1,700.