Forget Obamacare’s Bumps and Glitches, Look How It Destroys Personal Choice
If we had a dollar for every time we heard something or read a headline in the news about Obamacare’s “bumps” and “glitches,” we’d be pretty wealthy. Today the Washington Post reported on some more Obamacare glitches in an article entitled Glitches hold up elements of health-care sign-up process.
The article states that Small-business health exchanges run by the federal government will not open for online enrollment until November, but applicants may still enroll by phone, mail or fax beginning Oct. 1. The Administration also recently delayed other features of the small-business marketplaces, including one that would have allowed each employee to pick his or her own health plan using funds from the workplace. That feature was delayed until 2015; instead, workers will enroll in the plan their employers select. In addition, the administration delayed the Spanish-language website for Hispanics to sign up for Obamacare. But the Administration also spun this as a good thing.
But don’t worry! The Obama Administration will take care of everything… eventually. At that point in time, all the glitches will magically end and everyone will be happy!
Or maybe they won’t go away, as Heritage experts Robert E. Moffit, PhD and Edmund F. Haislmaier note:
Over the past several months, the media have focused on exchange implementation: “bumps and glitches,” defective software, inadequate personnel, or managerial mistakes. These are merely “process issues” endemic to central planning. (emphasis added)
But they draw our attention to something even worse about Obamacare and central planning than mere “glitches”:
Far more important is the substance of central planning: the frustration of personal choice and the inhibition of product innovation.
Obamacare consolidates health care decision making in the hands of government officials. When the major decision points are collapsed into one or two—in this case, Congress and the Secretary of HHS—the very words “choice” and “competition” become empty. Normal market dynamics are virtually impossible for any central power to monitor, let alone control; and, in a normal market, there is no such central government planning. With Obamacare, the result is a nominally “private” market sealed off to all but officially approved and standardized “private plans,” and where independent decisions are outlawed or curtailed to such a degree that they are meaningless. So, ordinary Americans will have access to “insurance,” but not the innovation, productivity, and personal satisfaction that a real market competition among insurers would routinely deliver to consumers.
Is this what we want for health care in America? Conservatives want to allow the free market to improve consumer choice. Moffit and Haislmaier explain how this works:
In a real market for goods and services in virtually every sector of the economy, tens of millions of people make decisions every minute of the day, and there are likewise millions and millions of decision points in these ordinary market transactions. Decision making is diffused among millions of players. The result is an explosion of innovation, productivity, and personal satisfaction. A free market ensures the growth of what Adam Smith, the great British economist, identified as the wealth of the nation.
We deserve better than Obamacare. Let your Senators know.