Tomorrow is Worth Saving, Obamacare Is Not


With the true kickoff date of October 1st for Obamacare, a lot has been said on the left regarding the various alleged reasons as to why Republicans oppose the Affordable Care Act . They include such fictions as us wanting to stop people from getting health care, not to mention the favored retreat of those with no logical argument — we oppose health care “reform” because President Obama happens to be black.  The second charge is so nonsensical as to be unworthy of dignifying it with a response, while the first points to the fundamental misrepresentation of conservative thought standardly practiced by our left wing opponents.

Conservatives dream big and see a world of limitless potential. We don’t assume the worst will happen and in fact we often expect tomorrow to be better than today.  The left sees life through a zero sum lens driven by the Malthusian assumption that tragedy awaits us at every turn. Therefore it is the role of government to write laws that diminish risk to zero.

Any sane person knows this is not possible. There is no “Life Helmet” but sadly, many seek refuge in the comfort of legislation, either to absolve themselves of personal responsibility or to aid in the self deception that life should be without risk.  Conservatives react in horror to these pushes, not because we aren’t forward thinking, but because we see them for the useless gesture or gilded cage that they really are.  To conservatives, life would not be worth living if our only goal was to merely subsist.

I don’t want to be safe. I want to be free and conservatives understand there is a trade-off between the two.

This gets to the more intrinsic reason why I and many others oppose ObamaCare on principle. Obamacare tells us to accept the medical inventions of today as rights and to settle for government distributing yesterday’s inventions to the masses. Conservatives don’t like to settle. We take pride in striving to be exceptional. Mediocrity is to us a mere way station to oblivion. It’s not living; it’s just passing time. By its very focus, the ACA steals from us a better tomorrow.

If work that takes ten years and billions of dollars to bring to market is perceived as a right, as opposed to a product worth paying for, one can likely expect that the capacity to invent will be diminished. You cannot berate capitalism as a cruel mistress and then complain when the goodies stop coming. Or as Kevin Williamson recently said in his piece “Capitalism is Cooperation”

“Of course societies are complex — that is one reason why you want multiple, competing centers of power and influence rather than a single overgrown Leviathan blundering around your fragile ecosystem.”

Speaking of blundering Leviathans, during the implementation of the ACA, the Department of Health and Human Services has gone on record with its desire to control care with an eye towards containing cost.  They act as if the private sector wouldn’t have any mechanism to control cost if we allowed an actual free market to occur. Even in the previously heavily regulated healthcare market, changes had still been occurring without Obamacare.

  • Many insurance companies have introduced bundled payments , cost sharing, and various premiums and benefits as methods to manage total care costs.
  • Treatment paradigms were already shifting to customizing care with proven efficacy of new drugs in specific population in high treatment costs fields like oncology.
  • “Cheaper generic drugs in 2012 brought down spending on treatments for common diseases like high cholesterol for the first time in 20 years

All of this effort existed before Obamacare and would have continued without it. Unfortunately, Obamacare exacerbates the very regulations that were stifling further improvement in innovation and cost reduction and is reducing our options to contain cost effectively. It ignores costs that are within its capacity to control, such as malpractice lawsuits and FDA regulations that result in clinical trials for cancer patients costing up to  $90,000 per patient.

Like any leviathan, Obamacare has also proven to be non-functional when the legislative page hits reality, as proven by delay, repeals, and unintended consequences. Further, when you enforce central command and control of standard medical practices without competing entities experimenting in new approaches, you will sacrifice innovation in medical practice.

Here is an excellent example of a doctor deviating from protocol and providing “expensive” drugs prior to the approved guidance.  This deviation in approach will likely be discouraged and certainly not reimbursed in the small network of doctors to which your ObamaCard limits you:

 “In the Mississippi baby’s case, since the mother had not received any prenatal HIV care, her physician, Dr. Hannah Gay, decided to skip the six-week period on preventive drugs and jump directly to the more aggressive three-drug regimen within 30 hours of birth in order to give the baby the best chance of fighting off the virus.

Or this example of government run healthcare to which we are told we should aspire:

Waiting times for many surgeries in the U.K. are notoriously long, but recently have grown longer. The Huffington Post UK reports that, according to the NHS’s own data, close to 3 million people “were waiting to begin NHS treatment at the end of June, following a referral by their GP.” That represents an increase of 240,000 people from the same month last year. The NHS target for treatment following a referral is 18 weeks. The data show 91.7 percent of patients are “seen” within 18 weeks, but being seen and getting surgery or treatment are not the same. After the first appointment, patients often get in another line. Some wait additional weeks or months until a surgeon becomes available. Some die while waiting.

So we started this “call to action” called the Affordable Care Act  to get more people insured and by all projections there will still be 31 million uninsured people under Obamacare.  Furthermore, via government fiat, through the consolidation of care, we are eliminating the possibilities of what tomorrow holds. That’s on top of increasing the cost for insurance for the average American.

Compassion for the poor is not dismissively pushing people into a failed Medicaid system that has proven to be less valuable than being uninsured. Spending so much for no real improvements while pushing more and more people out of work and into dependency should be something we publicly shame, not herald.

Meanwhile back in reality, access challenges and costs are already evident in states like Massachusetts who launched us on this destructive course some time ago.  So when Americans object to Obamacare, it is not because we have become a cruel and heartless nation. It’s that we see how much we have to lose and how much darker tomorrow will be.  I for one refuse to be content to spend my days redistributing yesterday’s inventions so I can entertain the condescension of false compassion while denying our children the innovations of tomorrow.

My heart breaks for a nation’s people whose expectations have diminished to organized theft of invention, in sharp ignorance of the path to a lesser future.