Oh, Snap! ObamaCare Could Reduce Competition And Raise Costs (Part 2,467)

Seriously, who could have foreseen this coming?

When Congress passed the health care law, it envisioned doctors and hospitals joining forces, coordinating care and holding down costs, with the prospect of earning government bonuses for controlling costs.

And they would all join hands, sing kumbaya, and have a unicorn smoothie (Coke will soon be taxed out of buyability)

Now, eight months into the new law there is a growing frenzy of mergers involving hospitals, clinics and doctor groups eager to share costs and savings, and cash in on the incentives. They, in turn, have deployed a small army of lawyers and lobbyists trying to persuade the Obama administration to relax or waive a body of older laws intended to thwart health care monopolies, and to protect against shoddy care and fraudulent billing of patients or Medicare.

Why would they want to share costs? What’s that, you say? Because their costs are going to go through the roof? That can’t be right, because Obama and the Donkeys said they would lower costs. Hmph!

Consumer advocates fear that the health care law could worsen some of the very problems it was meant to solve – by reducing competition, driving up costs and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses.

Except, it was never intended to reduce problems, despite the liberal talking points. Remember when the idea was simply about reducing the rising cost of health insurance and insuring the 30-45 million uninsured? Then we actually saw the legislation, and it was quite obvious that the main intent was to drive insurers out of business, and move towards a single payer system. That’s the meat and potatoes (soy flavored meat and organically grown potatoes, of course). Everything else is garnish.

With potential efficiencies come incentives for doctors and hospitals to control costs, and a potential for abuse. Judith A. Stein, director of the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy, said she was concerned that some care organizations would try to hold down costs by “cherry-picking healthier patients and denying care when it’s needed.”

Not quite rationing, yet, it does the same thing we see in other countries that have national health systems, like Britain and France. Those who get sick are hosed.

“In an environment where health care providers are financially rewarded for keeping costs down,” he said, “anyone who has a disability or a chronic condition, anyone who requires specialized or complex care, needs to worry about getting access to appropriate technology, medical devices and rehabilitation. You don’t want to save money on the backs of people with disabilities and chronic conditions.”

Actually, that is exactly what happens with government run systems. Which is why we need repeal and replace. The idea of health system reforms, particularly in the insurance industry, is a good one. The government can create the conditions were the costs of insurance will be reduced can come from changing the existing laws to allow notions such as nationwide pooling and purchasing insurance in states with fewer requirements, not too mention reducing the number of federal requirements. What we tend to get now is a one size fits all system, where you are paying for things you don’t need. What a twenty year old male needs in his insurance is vastly different from a 50 year old. Nor do either need gynecological exams. A 60 year old woman doesn’t have a need for any baby birthing coverage. Yet, they pay for it, anyhow.

Who would have thought a 2,000 plus page piece of legislation that no one who voted for it read could cause so many real world problems?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach. sit back and Relax. we’ll dRive!

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