Dan Mitchell on Obamacare (includes cartoons on Obamacare)

Some very good points by Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute on Obamacare:

I’m going to make an assertion that seems utterly absurd.

The enactment of Obamacare may have been good news.

Before sending a team of medical attendants to cart me off to a sanitarium, allow me to elaborate. I’m not saying Obamacare is good policy. After all, I’ve written over and over again that it is a budget-busting boondoggle that will exacerbate our real healthcare crisis of third-party payer.

What I am saying, though, is that Obamacare may turn out to be a major political mistake for the left, one that sets the stage for sweeping free market reforms.

Here’s my six-part hypothesis.

  1. Our healthcare system as a mess before Obamacare. Normal market forces were crippled by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and also undermined by government intervention in the tax code that resulted in pervasive over-insurance that exacerbated the third-party payer problem.
  2. These various forms of intervention led to all sorts of problems, such as rising prices and indecipherable complexity, and most people blamed that the “free market” and “private” healthcare.Health Freedom Meter before Obamacare
  3. Obamacare was enacted in 2010, and it was perceived to be a paradigm-shifting change in the healthcare system, even though it was just another layer of bad policy on top of lots of other bad policy. Immediately after the legislation was approved, I offered a rough estimate that we went from a system that was 68 percent dictated by government to one that was 79 percent dictated by government.Health Freedom Meter after Obamacare
  4. Not surprisingly, all of the same problems still exist, but now they’re exacerbated by the mistakes in Obamacare.
  5. But because people think we’ve had a paradigm shift and government now is in charge (pay attention, since this is my key argument), they will be much more likely to blame “Obamacare” and “government” for all the warts and inefficiencies of the healthcare system.
  6. This means the public will be more receptive to pro-market policies, such as Obamacare repeal, tax reforms to reduce over-insurance, as well as the Medicaid and Medicare reforms in the Ryan budget.

All this will be much easier said than done, of course, and it is disconcerting that we’ll probably have to rely on feckless Republicans to implement these reforms.

But at least there’s a plausible scenario for systemic reform, and that wasn’t the case before Obamacare was enacted. In other words, the President’s signature achievement may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory for the left.

P.S. Watch this excellent video from Reason TV to see how a genuine free market could deliver health care at lower cost and with greater efficiency. For another example, here’s a report from North Carolina on free-market healthcare in action.

P.P.S. This post is part of my let’s-be-optimistic series. Previous editions include:

Third-Party Payer is the Biggest Economic Problem With America’s Health Care System

Published on Jul 10, 2012

This mini-documentary from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation explains that “third-party payer” is the main problem with America’s health care system. This is why undoing Obamacare, while desirable, is just a small first step if we want to reduce costs and boost efficiency

____________________

I have put up lots of cartoons from Dan Mitchell’s blog before and they have got lots of hits before. Many of them have dealt with the economy, eternal unemployment benefits, socialism,  Greece,  welfare state or on gun control.

These cartoons are sad but true.

I’m not sure why political cartoonists have been revisiting the issue of Obamacare in recent days, but I’ve been enjoying their humor.

I shared three funny cartoons a couple of days ago, adding to my collection of Obamacare humor (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Now let’s enjoy three more, beginning with this gem from Lisa Benson.

Obamacare Cartoon 4

Though we shouldn’t laugh at this cartoon. As we saw with both Medicaid and Medicare, entitlement programs routinely cost far more than original projections.

If you somehow think Obamacare might be different, watch this video.

Gary Varvel hits a different part of Obamacare, noting that the President’s promise of lower premiums is an utter fantasy.

Obamacare Cartoon 5

And Michael Ramirez looks at the big picture.

Obamacare Cartoon 6

I want to close with an optimistic point about the prospect of changing this terrible law.

Thanks to government programs and other forms of regulation and intervention, we had a bad healthcare system before Obamacare.

And even though it was government that was causing the system to malfunction, many people blamed the free market. And the President took advantage of that misunderstanding to push he legislation.

So now we have Obamacare, which has made the system a bit more statist.

But most people think Obamacare was much bigger than it actually was, with some actually thinking we used to have a free market!

Anyway, this flawed perception works to our advantage since it will now be possible to blame any bad news in the healthcare world on  Obamacare.

As such, I expect that Obamacare will remain unpopular.

The real question will be whether reformers will rally behind proposals to not just repeal Obamacare, but to actually restore a free market.

If you want to understand what needs to happen, I encourage you to watch two short videos, one from Reason TV and the other from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.

 

 

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