Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Obamacare and Economic Stimulus Logic

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Becky Akers“For decades rising health care costs have unleashed havoc on families, businesses and the economy,” President Barack Obama declared in October, during his surge for socialized medicine. Indeed, he frequently inveighs against the horrors if we don’t nationalize medical insurance: "We cannot continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years,” he insists, “with costs that are out of control…"

Yet wasn’t that dangerous road precisely the one we travelled with the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) he and Congress inflicted on us earlier this year? If we squander lots and lots of money, they claimed -- $787 billion, to be exact – on anything and everything, no matter how silly ($2.4 billion for “carbon-capture experiments,” $1 billion for the 2010 census), we’ll spend our way back to prosperity.

I admit that seems counter-intuitive. When money’s tight around the house, I economize instead of spending lavishly. In fact, I don’t even have to try my own version of ESP to discover that it’s hogwash: I know that if I’m down to my last $100, spending $250 on a wild night out won’t magically deposit $500 in my checking account. But then I’m not a Nobel Laureate like President Obama.

So I’m puzzled that he hasn’t hit on the easiest way to fix our broken system: continue on our current ruinous path, though at greater speed. Containing costs as he threatens to do is clearly the wrong tack.

We should spend more money on doctors’ visits and hospitalization, and do it faster. No need to settle for an annual physical anymore; a lot can happen in six months, so call for an appointment today. Make some for your family as well. And forget about a mere Band-aid when you slice your finger instead of your steak: head for the emergency room. Once there, consider elective surgery, perhaps liposuction or an appendectomy. Our ailing healthcare system needs your spare organs more than you do. After all, if wasting money works for the economy, what will it do for the medical industry?

Fortunately for lobbyists and special interests, Obama’s threat to cut cost appears to be as empty as his other promises. The Congressional Budget Office cautioned us for months that buying insurance for millions of Americans will send our already-fearsome deficit into the stratosphere. Though it later fell in line with the President to agree that we can indeed add billions in new expenses without consequence, common sense assures us that the Administration’s healthcare plan is on track to waste more of our money. No wonder liberal Senators have been trying to expand Medicare: it’s as great a boondoggle as the “public option” would have been. “Americans inherently know government interference drives costs up, not down,” says Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).

Just what the doctor ordered to cure a depression.

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