Central View: Will fairness rule the day on ObamaCare?
September 26, 2013
Oh no! Not another commentary about the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as ObamaCare. Yet millions of uninsured Americans are just now discovering that between Oct. 1, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014, they better buy some health insurance or be fined by the Internal Revenue Service.
On the other hand, there are millions of Americans who are already aware of ObamaCare and most of them do not like it one bit. For example, according to a recent on-line poll taken by NewMax.com, the numbers of Americans who are opposed to the implementation of ObamaCare are staggering. Eighty six percent want the full repeal of ObamaCare. Even if it leads to a government shutdown, 87 percent want Congress to cut off funding for ObamaCare. Ninety-one percent want the $500 billion President Obama took from Medicare and put into ObamaCare restored to Medicare. (The actual amount taken from Medicare is $716 billion over the next ten years.)
Whatever the exact polling numbers, those who oppose ObamaCare have gotten the U.S. House to pass a budget resolution that funds the U.S. Government through Dec. 15, 2013; however, without any funding for President Obama's signature piece of legislation.
Now, the ObamaCare battle is joined in Washington. It will likely be one of those battles that ends in compromise, with both sides claiming victory. The compromise is likely to be that the delays and exemptions to ObamaCare already extended by President Obama to his political base and large-dollar campaign donors will be extended to individual Americans.
As many Americans have already discovered, the Law of Unintended Consequences is in full effect. One major consequence is that many employers can no longer afford to provide health insurance to their employees. Millions of jobs have been eliminated and many more millions of American are having to choose between part-time employment or no job at all.
This particular "unintended" consequence stems from the never-ending failure of Socialists to understand human nature which, when faced with intolerable acts by Kings or Parliament or Congress, finds its way around them. For example, when the British Parliament enacted a tax on long-tailed dogs, the thrifty Scots started bobbing the tails of their sheep dogs.
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Nation-wide legislation such as ObamaCare, which gives the U.S. Government effective control over about 20 percent of the U.S. economy, is bound to be unfair to many and more than fair to others. In the debates to come, the issue of "fairness" will loom large. Expect the search for "fairness" to last a long time, meaning a "bob-tailed" ObamaCare will have to be delayed for many months and the debates may even lead to the rediscovery that free markets result in more goods and services for everyone and at less cost. That is an economic fact-of-life that applies in full measure to the health-services and the health-insurance industries.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.