By Herman Cain
Special to the Las Vegas Tribune
Don’t worry! They’re working round the clock to fix it!
What exactly did you think government-run health insurance was going to be like?
The Obama Administration finds itself scrambling this week as its
much-anticipated health care exchanges are stumbling out of the blocks
with consumer confusion, system shutdowns and sticker shock over the
actual cost of “free” health care.
Obama hilariously tried to claim in an interview with the AP yesterday
that public interest far exceeded the government’s expectations. But
is that really the problem? In Kansas, there are more than 360,000
people without health insurance, and one of that state’s congressmen,
Republican Tim Huelskamp, reports that not a single Kansan has yet
Some of that is because the system is such a mess. Huelskamp says he
actually tried to sign up but couldn’t navigate his way through it.
Surely others tried too, but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the
“Folks are working round the clock and have been systematically
reducing the wait times,” Obama assures us.
Tell me another one. If you think the wait time to sign up is bad,
imagine what the wait times will be like for cancer treatments, or for
emergency surgery, or for a physical.
This is what happens when you take a service and use politics to a)
explode demand for it, while b) forcing providers to take all comers.
You will get shortages. You will get doctors leaving the system. You
will get premiums going through the roof. You will destroy quality.
You will do all this because markets work in certain ways, but
politicians don’t like the way markets work, so they try to manipulate
markets. They try to make things free that can’t be free, because it
costs money to provide them. They try to make things irrelevant — like
pre-existing conditions — that can’t be irrelevant. They try to tell
you they can do all this without it costing you a lot of money,
without quality suffering, without service suffering… and then when
none of that works out, they say, oh, don’t worry, we’re working round
the clock, this is not a problem.
But even Obama’s excuse gives away an ugly truth. He says the
government had no idea what to expect in terms of demand. Exactly!
They created a monster by trying to throw everyone — the young, the
old, the healthy, the sick — into the same insurance pool and force
insurers to take everyone, and to treat everyone the same.
Then they made the problem worse by forcing people who don’t even want
insurance to buy it anyway, and by using taxpayer money to subsidize
Here’s what happens when you do that: Suddenly the market is flooded
with people making demands on the system who were not previously
making any demands whatsoever. That overtaxes the system and causes
costs to skyrocket. Who will pay for that? The party that has
committed to pay the subsidies, which is the federal government, which
is to say — the taxpayers. You.
Free health care! Ha! Joke’s on you!
At the same time, providers will be forced out of the system because
they can’t make a reasonable return on the services they provide,
especially those who take Medicaid patients.
So your insurance will cost more, the quality of your care will be
worse and you will have to wait longer to get it because there aren’t
as many providers available. Oh, and that’s if you can navigate your
way through the “exchanges” and sign up in the first place.
Welcome to ObamaCare. It’s the latest attempt by politicians to banish
market realities by legislative fiat. We can already see it is working
about as well as every other such attempt by politicians to do this —
which is to say, not at all. Because it is impossible. The only thing
harder, I reckon, is getting them to stop trying.