This is my promised follow-up to my April 28th essay, The Unfolding Nightmare of The (Totally Unaffordable) Affordable Care Act.
Capitalism is the most amazing engine of innovation the world has ever known. Capitalism finds the tinest nook of a need and leaps in, unfettered, to fill this miniscule of a void.
For example, did you realize there over ONE MILLION different vehicle combinations for sale in America today! There are hundreds of brands and models of cars, and even more models of trucks, and hundreds more motorcycles. Then you add the choices of commercial vehicles, ambulances, heavy duty haulers, delivery trucks, oil tankers, grain trucks, trash and refuse trucks.... Well, you get the idea and I'm not including airplanes and railroad vehicles.
Need a vehicle? You have over one million choices. There is one just perfect for you.
Need health insurance? You have exactly one choice. Just one. Only one. Period. There is no innovation. There is no variety. There are no options. There is no competition. One size fits all.
To make matters one hell of a lot worse, the one single, solitary Health Insurance Plan was written by a committee. A committee of politicians and special interest lobbyists. The politicians included many things that are totally unnecessary, designed only to garner votes. They included little gifts (worth hundreds of millions of dollars) to their friends. They actually did not care if the damned plan worked.
They purposely kept out any little remnants of capitalism. They expressly forbid competition across state lines. And they forbid any innovation. Every aspect of the exact nature of the Health Care Insurance was spelled out to the tiniest detail in the 2,000 page bill and the tens of thousands of pages of regulations.
Although Insurance companies are required to provide the product and administer its implementation, they were forbidden to sell it. Advertising was run only by the government and sales were accomplished by untrained, unqualified "Navigators."
The stunning power of capitalism that gives you hundreds of versions of the Ford F-150 Truck, and gives you brilliant "Madison Avenue" advertising to explain all the features and benefits of the truck was forbidden by the legislation. Nope, government knows best.
When I purchased my Ford I had the benefit of dozens of competing dealerships with well trained salesmen and full service garage mechanics from which to chose. And the dealers all fought for my business and competed to offer me the lowest price. Of course the government outlawed such competition for my Health Care dollars.
Thanks to the complicated Affordable Care Act, I am allowed to buy ONE complicated, unworkable, nightmare of an insurance product, from an untrained "navigator" or, worse yet, for a non-working "Internet Website."
Why did this happen?
Well Democrats, and many of my fellow liberals and progressives, hate capitalism. To them, Capitalism is public enemy number one. They believe, as they sip on their Starbuck's Latte and text on their iPhone, that Capitalism is a nightmare of oppression. Capitalism is not to be trusted. Capitalism must be controlled, regulated, managed and, ultimately, neutered.
The Democrats, who designed the Affordable Care Act without input from a single Republican, decided patient choice would no longer be available to Americans.
You can chose your car, your coffee, your chicken sandwich, but not your health insurance. Your 85 year old Aunt Mary, your two year old nephew Phillip and the high wire acrobat in the circus all get the same plan. And all pay the same basic rate
In the place of choice you get mandatory services provided to each and every customer whether they’re wanted or needed or not.
This is what has led to the insane price increases combined with massive deductible increases virtually all American's are now encountering. And this one size fits all policy is also the cause of the elimination of many doctors and hospitals from most people's plans. ObamaCare actually forces narrower networks and fewer doctors to care for (potentially) more patients.
ObamaCare doesn't work because it basically cannot work.
I like my Ford F-150 Truck. I like the color blue. I like the gas milage. I like the long bed for hauling my four-wheeler. And I like that fact that, unlike my ObamaCare Insurance Plan, my Ford will NOT cost me $10,000.00 every year in deductibles and premiums.
The government does regulate some aspects of my truck. The EPA sets gas milage targets that Ford must meet. And there are safety standards, air bags, seatbelts and more. Had government taken the same approach to health insurance, I would be choosing from dozens of plans, with competitors from all around the nation.
We Liberals must learn to embrace what works and discard what doesn't. Government can do a good job of regulation. They should then have let the marketplace develop the products, advertise and sell them. Liberals must learn to harness the horsepower of capitalism, not lock it away in the barn.