That’s the First Law of Thermodynamics—There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!
Of late, I’m seeing more references to the Obama Administration as “lawless,” and it certainly has a record of disobeying its own signature law as it tries to implement Obamacare. But no matter how hard they try to bend or break the fundamental Laws of Nature, there ain’t no such thing as free healthcare either.
Someone has to pay: hence, the various redistributive schemes to try to finance the program. Jonathan Cohn has a piece over at TNR titled Yes, Obamacare is Redistribution—But Republicans Are Wrong About Who Pays. He tries to show how the money to fund the scheme (more than $2 trillion over the next decade) will be raised. Most of the sources make little real-world economic sense. For example, Medicare providers will summarily be short-changed $415 billion on their compensation for the goods and service they provide. The logic behind this is that it gives providers with an incentive to become more efficient by being paid less rather than deciding to get a better paying job or start a more profitable business. Yeah, that’ll work.
The truly stupid ideas in the Obamacare financing scheme are the fees to be imposed on the healthcare industry such as the medical device tax. This adds a violation of Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that every system operates with some increase in entropy. The $165 billion dollars of increased cost to the system will never be recovered when the real world results of the program are viewed as a whole. Even an economy as large as ours won’t be able to hide the loss.
If your think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till it’s “free.”
As of 9 pm ET on 30 November, the day that the Obamacare website was supposed to be “fixed,” the healthcare dot gov site says that it does not support the current version of Mac OSX.
Of course, OS 10.9 has only been in public release for five weeks, but incremental developer releases have been available for testing since June.
It’s interesting that the site claims to support Windows XP which was withdrawn from sale in 2009 and for which Microsoft will end support early next year, but says nothing about support for iOS (iPhone/Pad) or Android systems. I wonder what percentage of users under 30 years old will try to access the site with a mobile device?
The version of Obamacare that was rolled out on 1 October was clearly not ready for prime time. It wasn’t even ready for beta release. It was simply a failure.
Good engineers design for failure. That’s not to say that we (I’m an engineer) design products to fail, but we know that they will. That’s why the load panel in your house has circuit breakers. In the real world, failure is always an option, and it becomes exponentially more likely when a project is managed by someone who doesn’t understand the endeavor’s practical constraints. Clay Shirky offers an analysis of the probable managerially-driven problems with Obamacare here.
Recently, much has been made about the Administration’s ignoring the law when dealing with Obamacare and any possible workarounds for its present problems, and it’s true that those responsible for the current mess have acted lawlessly. However, the law that will do the project in was not passed by Congress. It stems from a higher authority. Those who ignore it are fools.
If anything can go wrong, it will.
Let it burn.
UPDATE—This insightful observation is also on point:
Many people who have healthcare through policies bought through an employer or a union have been granted waivers allowing them to keep those policies through 2014. After this year’s experience with enrollment in Obamacare, the signup period next year has been delayed. It will begin after election day.
This was supposedly found unshredded in a dumpster near the White House—
For use Nov 19 2013:
Two score and nine days ago your betters brought forth on this continent a new healthcare, conceived in secret, and dedicated to the proposition that all men should suffer equally.
Now were are engaged in a great civil discourse, testing whether that healthcare, or any healthcare so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that discourse. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for the plans of those who here gave up their plans that this healthcare might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not hallow those plans. The brave bureaucrats, federal and state, have done them in far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember the excuses offered here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us the Progressives, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who pushed paper here have thus far so ineptly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these killed-off plans we take increased devotion to that cause for which we have such great desire—that we highly resolve that mere bureaucratic snafus shall not have been made in vain—that this nation shall have new birth of regulation—and that government of the people, by their betters, for their betters, shall not perish from the earth.
Commenters on the Left are now beginning to worry that the rollout of Obamacare has been and will continue to be so inept that too many of the suckers public will become convinced it is was a scam all along or that the wonks are technical dilettantes rather than competent innovators or something else “bad.” This, they say, will allow the Right to run successfully against Progressivism as personified in Obama for a generation.
They may have a point. When I was a kid back in the ’50s, I remember Democrats who were still going on about Hoover.
Obamacare is going to be an expensive educational experience.
Politifact has rated Barack Obama’s recent attempt to weasel out of his “if you like your plan …” and “if you like your doctor …” promises. They must have noticed that his lips were moving. The Politifact rating is shown on the left.
Meanwhile, it’s being reported that the average age of people who are signing up for Obamacare is significantly older than the actuaries expected when insurance rates were initially calculated. If that continues, either rates will have to be drastically increased again in 2015 or the program will go bust financially.
Peggy Noonan has a piece over at WSJ that describes how disastrous a victory Obamacare is for the President. Not only are many Americans finding that they can’t keep their old heath plans that they liked, the new plans are often unaffordable. And many are discovering that the politically well-connected are being given special exemptions.
It’s as if it’s 1937 and they launched Social Security, only rich coupon-clippers on Park Avenue immediately started getting small monthly checks, and 67-year-old dust bowlers in tarpaper shacks started getting monthly bills.
The Democrats that is. I’m over 65 and on Medicare, but Mrs. Hoge is still in her 50s. She would like to be free to choose what her health insurance covers. She isn’t interested in buying either maternity or abortion coverage. She isn’t interested in having lactation or fertility coverage. She doesn’t want Viagra. But she isn’t free to take those choices. The Democrats insist that she buy coverage for all these things as part of Obamacare. And it is the Democrats doing the insisting. Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote.
Fortunately, Mrs. Hoge is covered by a group health plan that will survive past the first of the year, but millions of other people are finding out that they won’t be able to keep the health plan they liked. They’re also beginning to find out that the Administration has known for years that the regulations it intended to impose would have that effect. The mainstream media is even beginning to talk about that fact.
As more folks wise up, it may be for some Democrats in Congress that “If you like your job, you can keep it” may be just another empty promise.
It’s being reported that some Democrats who have to run for reelection next year are a bit nervous about Obamacare. Among those who don’t have to face the voters, there is a group who are talking about how good the program really is. And within that group, there’s a bunch of folks who are trivializing the impact of lost insurance policies that people liked and thought they could keep.
TPM has a piece by Dylan Scott that falls into that category. The article quotes Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who oversaw Romneycare, as saying:
We have to as a society be able to accept that. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a shame, but no law in the history of America makes everyone better off.
Yeah. Who really cares if several million Americans wind up losing the affordable health insurance they already had? As a famous European politician is alleged to have said, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
UPDATE–Stacy McCain discusses totalitarian means and ends in the context of Obamacare.
Mark Steyn has a piece about Obamacare and the Canadian firm that was given the no-bid contract to develop the healthcare dot gov website. It turns out that it’s the same company that was responsible for the Canadian gun registry debacle.
The registry was estimated to cost in total $119 million, which would be offset by $117 million in fees. That’s a net cost of $2 million. Instead, by 2004 the CBC (Canada’s PBS) was reporting costs of some $2 billion — or a thousand times more expensive.
Yeah, yeah, I know, we’ve all had bathroom remodelers like that. But in this case the database had to register some 7 million long guns belonging to some two-and-a-half to three million Canadians. That works out to almost $300 per gun — or somewhat higher than the original estimate for processing a firearm registration of $4.60. Of those $300 gun registrations, Canada’s auditor general reported to parliament that much of the information was either duplicated or wrong in respect to basic information such as names and addresses.