Review: The Objective Standard

Jared M. Rhoads has written a terrific, detailed, and favorable review of Why ObamaCare Is Wrong for America for the summer issue of The Objective Standard. Rhoads clearly read the book, quotes from it frequently, and believes the authors produced a fair and objective analysis of the health law. He writes, “Why ObamaCare is Wrong for America substantially does what it sets out to do: It shows why ObamaCare is economically and medically bad for America, and these are important, if not fundamental, aspects of the argument against this atrocity.” Here’s an excerpt from his review, which you can read in full at The Objective Standard website:

Why ObamaCare is Wrong for America summarizes the key provisions of the new law, explaining how this historic piece of legislation fails to achieve the goals so loudly trumpeted by its proponents, and what it will actually do instead.

The authors—four health policy experts from four different conservative public policy organizations—largely succeed in making a complex topic comprehensible to a general audience. For starters, they organize their analysis of the legislation into reader-friendly themes such as “Impact on Families and Young Adults,” “Impact on Seniors,” and “Impact on You and Your Employer.” The subsection headings are descriptive and frequent, dividing the chapters into easily digestible segments, many of which are less than a page in length.

In the overview and the first chapter, “Impact on Families and Young Adults,” we learn that the architects of ObamaCare seek to achieve “universal coverage” not by means of market-based reforms—such as deregulating the insurance industry to open it up to interstate competition or equalizing the tax treatment of coverage purchased in the individual market—but by expanding coverage via two new federal entitlement programs: one to provide taxpayer-subsidized health insurance to low-income families and another to provide long-term health care benefits to seniors and people who are disabled (p. 21).

The authors note that whereas these programs will cost more than $2.3 trillion over the next ten years, 23 million people will remain uninsured (p. 57). Thus, although the government will spend far more money, it will not come close to meeting the administration’s dream of “universal coverage.”

The authors also explain that, in response to government changes in reimbursement rates, many physicians will limit the number of Medicare and Medicaid patients they see, drop out of the programs, or leave medicine altogether. All told, as many as 80 to 100 million people could see their coverage and/or their physician network change as a result of ObamaCare (p. 214). Similarly, say the authors, bright would-be medical students witnessing the deterioration in pay, job satisfaction, and professional autonomy in the field will opt for other careers (p. 108). These and other observations made by the authors clarify another major flaw in the “logic” of ObamaCare: Despite the president’s promise, patients cannot “keep” doctors who are no longer willing to practice, and medicine cannot thrive when the best and brightest flee the field.

In general, the authors of Why ObamaCare is Wrong for America do a good job of condensing and critiquing the massive, detail-laden legislation. Although they approach the law head-on and are unabashedly critical, they refrain from hyperbole. For example, in the section titled bluntly “Are There Death Panels In ObamaCare?” (to which they answer “no”), the authors explain how the controversy arose and what protections are in place to prevent the emergence of death panels—and then acknowledge the legitimate basis for concern over this issue, which is the conflict of interest introduced when the federal government makes decisions about coverage while simultaneously trying to control program costs (p. 92).

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