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Over the past few days, two articles have exquisitely demonstrated what we already knew and predicted before Obamacare passed - that the health care law would be a disaster and was incapable of keeping the promises made by the Pelosi - Reid Congress that rammed it through. The signs of the collapse of this law are so obvious, even noted single payer advocate Howard Dean is noticing.
In the first article on July 26, it was revealed that the call center being set up in California to answer consumer questions about ObamaCare will offer part time jobs with no health benefits. As my FreedomWorks colleague Jon Gabriel put it earlier today, "Every day reveals a new reason we need to get rid of this legislative malpractice. If you want to defund ObamaCare, click here to join the effort."
The details would be hilarious if it weren't such a sad indictment of failed economic recovery and our government. Far from being a welcomed shot in the arm for the local economy, it appears that Contra Costa County was sold a bill of goods by the Obama administration. This continues the rash of announcements that full time employment is being reduced by employers nationwide to avoid being forced to provide health care under Obamacare. Let's be honest - there really is no more powerful symbol of the failure of this law to live up to its promises than the notion that its own customer service hires will be part timers and without benefits.
The second article was the admission by former DNC Director Howard Dean that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will do nothing to reduce health care costs. While he again reiterates that he is an advocate of universal health care and sees Obamacare as a step towards that ultimate goal, Dean admits that many of the components of Obamacare are fundamentally flawed and will not work. But even more than that, he admits that IPAB is, essentially, a death panel:
... the law still has its flaws, and American lawmakers and citizens have both an opportunity and responsibility to fix them.
One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.
There does have to be control of costs in our health-care system. However, rate setting—the essential mechanism of the IPAB—has a 40-year track record of failure. What ends up happening in these schemes (which many states including my home state of Vermont have implemented with virtually no long-term effect on costs) is that patients and physicians get aggravated because bureaucrats in either the private or public sector are making medical decisions without knowing the patients. Most important, once again, these kinds of schemes do not control costs. The medical system simply becomes more bureaucratic. [emphasis added]
Dean persists in his insistence that universal health care is the only desirable outcome, a myth I have repeatedly tried to debunk in covering the British NHS. He also makes a fundamental error near the beginning of his op-ed when he implies that divorcing health care from the employer-provided model is the same in the ACA as what John McCain proposed while campaigning for President in 2008 (the pathways are quite divergent - one relies on the free market, and the other relies on command control of an entire economic segment). But in his tacit admission that the IPAB equates to a death panel and will not actually control health care costs, he's (somewhat unintentionally) hit on the argument that fiscal conservatives have made all along - the only way to get health care costs under control is to have LESS government intervention and MORE free market pressures on cost growth. What Dean fails to realize is that no matter which parts of the law are tweaked, Obamacare will always have exactly the opposite effect.
These two articles could not have been more perfectly timed to give voters a clearer picture of the negative effects of Obamacare's unintended consequences. Someday, perhaps, we will live in a true free market economy that will limit government to its proper role, but for now we are faced with yet another example that the only thing government can do with free markets is muck them up and make them less efficient.