Off My Desk
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email
Edit Module
Friday, March 26, 2010

Do You Feel Healthier Yet?

I’ll happily send you to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for a discussion about the tensions between the newly passed federal health care reform and Hawaii’s existing health care laws. And to healthreform.gov for details on what ObamaCare is supposed to bring to Hawaii.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but notice that the health care reform act calls for hiring an additional 16,500 IRS agents.

Why? Because the act requires anyone who isn’t covered through their workplace to purchase their own individual policy, under force of law, and somebody has to enforce our compliance.

Remember when Candidate Barack Obama totally slammed Hillary Clinton for backing exactly the same individual mandate? A good reminder that campaign promises and pick-up lines exist in the same category of speech.

The newly passed health care reform also introduces 19 new tax increases, hence further complicating the tax code, hence requiring more Watchers to Watch Over Us.

I’m sure the IRS agents’ examinations will be thorough and probing, but they’re unlikely to leave any American feeling healthier. What kind of health-care reform tells Americans, “You’ll die horribly of an untreated illness if we don’t pass this bill. Here. Have some audits.”

Imagine these 16,500 IRS agents distributed evenly throughout the states. Hawaii would get 330 of them. Imagine instead if we were given 330 case managers for our higher-than-average diabetic population. Or 330 elder care nurses for our senior population. Or a federal free clinic staffed with 330 professionals standing ready to heal to the poor and afflicted. Instead … we’ll get tax code cops.

I just don’t know what to make of this reform. It seems to simultaneously betray both the left and right sides of American political philosophy. Democrats depicted this reform as a way to protect America’s most vulnerable citizens from the depravations of the Evil Insurance Companies, a rather progressive sentiment—but then they passed a law that requires people to buy insurance from Evil Insurance Companies. So … insurance is good? The resulting reform is … progressive? Or just corporatist?

As for those who think that the best governments are those that govern least; well, the objections are obvious. The reform vastly increases the cost of the state, the size of its workforce, the complexity of its laws while claiming jurisdiction over increasingly private aspects of our lives. Come to think of it, I don’t understand why this doesn’t freak out progressives and much as it does small-government conservatives. They seemed so fearful of expansive federal government when Bush-Cheney were in charge. Now it’s just fine, because Obama is president? That seems awfully convenient.

ObamaCare is expected to require $497 billion in tax increases over its first decade alone. To save lives? I’d have more expectation of that if every dollar of health care reform’s cost were instead given as competitive grants to independent researchers devoted to curing cancer and heart disease, fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, preventing Alheizmers and dementia, and more. These things afflict and kill people every day, all day—yes, even people who are fully insured.

I’ve yet to hear a single claim that ObamaCare will do much to change that, beyond the benefits of earlier screening for these as yet uncured diseases. No matter what we think we’ve just been handed by Obama and Congress, insurance does not equal health, access does not equal cure, no matter how many IRS agents they hire to convince us otherwise.
 

Posted on Friday, March 26, 2010 in Permalink

Have Feedback? Suggestions? Email us!