With the Supreme Court expected to rule on “Obamacare” (i.e. PPACA) tomorrow, I want to consider this reddit thread asking to explain it to a 5-year-old. There’s a long list of what PPACA does, and will do, if the Supreme Court upholds it. Some may be wise, while others are surely not. The overwhelming point, though, is that none of this is free. Consider this, for example:
Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms.
That costs money. Even if the change is minor, computer systems have to be reprogrammed and tested. Multiply that across every employer in the U.S. How much productivity is being consumed by this instead of something else that may provide more wealth? What improved health outcomes will this generate?
It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths. ( Citation: Page 923, sec. 5000B )
A new tax on pharmaceutical companies.
A new tax on the purchase of medical devices.
A new tax on insurance companies based on their market share. Basically, the more of the market they control, the more they’ll get taxed.
Those taxes are taxes on consumers. I suspect many people reading the list, and maybe its author, don’t grasp that. All taxes are on individuals. Consumers will pay higher costs or receive fewer services.
The real beauty of the list comes when the author injects opinion.
The biggest thing opponents of the bill have against it is the mandate. They claim that it forces people to buy insurance, and forcing people to buy something is unconstitutional. …
… Personally, I take the opposite view, as it’s not telling people to buy a specific thing, just to have a specific type of thing, just like a part of the money we pay in taxes pays for the police and firemen who protect us, this would have us paying to ensure doctors can treat us for illness and injury.
I don’t see the distinction between buy and have when the only way to get a thing is for someone to buy it. This is the “I like it” and “by whatever means” arguments in favor of constitutionality.
I expect the Supreme Court to strike down the mandate. I suspect the rest will go down, as well, because it’s the least controversial and problematic path if the mandate goes. The rest of the act needs the mandate to achieve the remaining cost savings (that it won’t actually achieve, even with the mandate). The least “activist” thing to do is for the Court to let Congress start over.
None of this is to suggest that we should do a victory dance in favor of the old status quo if the mandate goes down. We need reform within health care. Such as untying insurance from employment, which our current unemployment rate suggests would be wise. We won’t get responsible reform, because we’ll get more rent-seeking like PPACA instead. But if Congress has to start over, there’s a chance, however small.
Link via Wil Wheaton, who should heed his own “Don’t Be A Dick” suggestion. Blaming the constitutional challenge to PPACA on “the Koch Brothers and their Tea Party Rubes” as an attempt to “get the Supreme Court to take away” what PPACA legislates is dickish partisanship. Calling one’s opponents names and implying they’re stupid merely based on group affiliation is being a dick.