I blog about free markets in medical care and transparent pricing.
The idea that a branch of the leviathan federal government (that is in charge of reviewing the power of the very same leviathan government) would issue a ruling that would limit the power of the very same leviathan government is naive. This corrupt “brother in law” arrangement, as Gary North has called it, precludes any objectivity by SCOTUS. As Tom Woods has said, it should come as no surprise that a government that is in charge of determining its own powers has expanded its powers. Today’s ruling was a surprise only in that Roberts sided with the left.
The court’s decision has insured that the bill will continue to do what it was intended to do all along: bestow power, money and favors upon those who brought their check books to Washington as this debate unfolded nearly 4 years ago. Small insurance companies, unable to comply with the Medical Loss Ratio provision will go out of business. That was the point. This is the reason that the large insurers supported this bill. Less competition for the big boys who will now be in complete control. Small hospitals (particularly rural hospitals) will more likely succumb to hostile takeover bids by the big city corporate hospitals. That was the point. That is the reason the American Hospital Association supported this bill. Physicians will sign on as hospital employees unable to afford the computerized medical record expense or just feeling disgust toward the end of their careers. That was the point. Physicians who will as employees do as they are told are much easier to control than the private practitioners focused on the needs of their patients.
The pharmaceutical industry, whose profits were protected by this bill, will continue to make incredible amounts of money. That was the point. Newt Gingrich, lobbyist, and his HIT (health information technology) clients have already walked with billions. They will continue to do well. That was the point.
The whole focus was getting everyone insurance. The bill doesn’t do that! It does, however, penalize people for not buying insurance. Seriously, who benefits from that?
There never was a discussion about costs. The reason for this is that if costs are rational, the cronies listed above will not achieve the same profit margins. Costs will be discussed, whether the elite want them to be or not now, as the court’s decision will cause the cost of health care premiums to increase very shortly. This will force an examination of the costs of care, the result of which will alarm those who have not paid attention to this aspect of the issue. More and more facilities and physicians will post their prices to the embarassment of the large hospitals and insurance companies that supported this legislation.
The curtain on this sham will finally come back as more and more physicians opt out of Medicare and Medicaid, leaving folks with “coverage” but no care. Make no mistake: the losers of this court’s decision are the poor and the elderly. No one will see them. This will be the deadly proof that this bill was never about health care at all, but about business as usual in Washington. The court’s decision will truly reveal that the purpose of this bill like almost all others was to make already rich people much richer.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
A recent article in the NY Times declares HIT (health information technology) as a growth industry with the potential to create over 200,000 jobs. 20 billion dollars in subsidies have been provided by the federal government (taxpayers) toward the effort to digitize all patient information.
I can’t think of a better example of Bastiat’s “What is Seen and What is Not Seen.” We will, of course, never know what would have become of the use of the 20 billion stolen from the taxpayers to blow up this silly and dangerous bubble. This declaration is equivalent to an excited homebuilder,surveying the homes devastated by a tornado, bragging on the number of construction jobs created by mother nature. Looking at this from the perspective of the homeowner, vast resources will be spent to, at best, return to their original condition. The brilliance of Bastiat resulted in this question: what would the homeowner have done with those same resources to improve their condition (rather than to just return to their prior condition) had this disaster never occurred? Any disaster is always a net loss, otherwise it would make economic sense to set fire to communities regularly to rebuild them.
Any activity of government is funded by the confiscation of the property of individuals, the alternate use of which will never be known. Bribery and cronyism, unavoidable influences in politics, advance this diversion of property from the disenfranchised to the privileged. The lobbyists for the HIT industry were very effective in this regard. They placed sufficient money on the table to mandate the purchase of their product. One of their lead lobbyists was Newt Gingrich, a master of this game. He and his masters have made off with billions and at this point probably don’t care what happens to the Unaffordable Care Act in the courts.
Bastiat defined government as “…the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else…” This HIT industry wouldn’t exist were it not for the bribery and subsequent intervention and interference of the federal government officials. This is how bubbles form. Anytime government diverts resources from where they would otherwise naturally go, mal-investment occurs. Economic corrections eventually occur to clean this up, accompanied by intense job loss and human suffering that was completely avoidable.
Celebrating the jobs created by the new HIT industry discounts the pain and dislocation that many will endure when the correction occurs. But then, as short term thinking dominates the political landscape, many of the politicians fat from their HIT bribes, will be long gone when all of these businesses fail, many lose their jobs and city planners along with their “economic development” bureaucrats move on to their next fancy. Otherwise, the success of this game depends on the short memories of those whose hard-earned wages were confiscated to line the pockets of the elite.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.