Despite all the national outrage, I’m glad a federal judge ruled that Obamacare is unconstitutional.
The first time the Affordable Care Act was debated in front of the Supreme Court, they defended the individual mandate as a tax. This time, a federal district judge ruled otherwise. Regardless of the reason, as a doctor, I’m relieved that the law might finally go away.
There’s a lot of discontentment, so here are the four biggest reasons why Congress should not try to rescue Obamacare:
1. Obamacare outlaws insurance
By mandating that all insurance plans must cover pre-existing conditions, it means that every insurance plan is in effect an element of the social safety net. It holds your ability to buy insurance hostage unless you foot the bill for your neighbor’s bad lifestyle choices.
This is one of the main reasons that plans sold on the exchanges have become so expensive.
Just imagine if your auto insurance also paid for engine repairs. You could buy a 30-year-old junker and externalize the frequent repair costs. You could even skimp on routine maintenance, knowing that when the transmission goes out, the insurance company will bail you out. Obamacare causes the same type of boondoggle in health care.
It holds everyone’s access to insurance hostage in a pathetic attempt to extend the government’s social safety net. It is possible to have a social safety net that doesn’t disrupt the insurance market — and politicians should keep this in mind before trying to revive this horrible law.
2. Obamacare causes inflation
By expanding Medicaid and access to health plans that have an element of top-dollar coverage, it encourages over-consumption of low-value care.
When guaranteed a high amount of “free” care, or care with extremely low co-pays, people are more likely to use it even when they don’t need it. This overloads the system with people who do need the care, but because of a shortage of doctors can’t access it.
Also, expanding Medicaid really means the government throws more money at insurance companies to expand coverage. Health care costs have continued to rise under Obamacare, and this shouldn’t be a surprise.
3. Obamacare robs consumers of choice
By taking a pound of your flesh, and then giving you an insurance plan with a narrow network and strict set of rules and limitations, the bureaucrats take away your ability to direct your own care. Sure, 3 million more Americans are “covered” under the individual mandate, but that coverage is very basic, very bare-bones, and has ridiculously high deductibles.
This is what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was referring to when she decried how private health insurance companies also have death panels, not just the government. (The part that AOC doesn’t get is that expanding government’s fingerprints in health care only enables the death panels to get more deadly.)
4. Obamacare destroys personal responsibility
When people get used to not being in control of their care, it trains them to regard their own health as the responsibility of “the system.” The system essentially ignores lifestyle as a factor in health.
Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, GERD and a myriad of other conditions have substantial lifestyle components–and close attention to these lifestyle considerations can add years to a patient’s life. The type of support and counseling necessary to bring this about is almost never covered by insurance.
To the average patient, this is seen as an official signal that this is less important than the pills they get from the doctor.
The passive attitude towards health care combined with a dismissal of lifestyle optimization is the behavior you expect of someone who is chronically disempowered and has learned to be helpless.
American healthcare today is inundated with these disempowered patients who have been taught that their health is the responsibility of the system and that there’s nothing they can do to make it better. These people will live less fulfilled and shorter lives thanks to a system teaching them dependence and obedience.
So, how do we solve this problem?
The overpriced, bureaucratic monstrosity that is ObamaCare has failed in its goals. If anything, it has added fuel to the fire of rising costs and degrading quality in the American health care system.
The only people who benefit are the very sick or the very poor, but the much larger community is far worse off. Everyone is paying an astronomical price for coverage that’s still inadequate.
Let’s stop this foolish practice and get back to basic economics. Monopolies don’t serve the interests of consumers. Government-created monopolies, like the ones different health insurance companies have in different geographic areas, treat patients like conquered peasants who must pay a tribute. So let’s end the monopolies and end the subsidies!
As taxpayers, why are we paying to be treated this way as customers? Instead of this government-nurtured nightmare, health care policy should focus on fostering competitive markets where prices fall and quality rises. If social safety net programs are desired, they should be designed to avoid interfering with the markets, not explicitly designed to destroy them.
Dr. Kyle Varner is a physician specialized in Internal Medicine and founder of DrVarner.com, a resource to help Americans take their health out of government control.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.