What Is The Worst Thing About Obamacare?

This is a new application of the Hughniverse. I intend to take and reproduce this thread at HughHewitt.com, so please don’t post on it if you don’t want the information that appears on the screen to be posted on the public blog. Please be specific and use citations if possible. Please avoid rants, which I will edit out anyway. I’d like to use the talents of the Hughniverse participants to focus in on the best arguments about why Obamacare is such a terrible initiative.


  1. Nick Stuart says

    The worst thing is the enervating effect it will have on American’s independence from government and self-reliance. This is worse even than the trillions of dollars of expense and ruiniation of American healthcare that it will effect.

  2. Michael Kennedy says

    I read the transcript of the Gruber interview. I don’t know if he is ignorant or was dissembling. Everything I have read about Massachusetts is about higher premiums.

    The worst thing will be the continuation of a philosophy that the government purports to pay for health care while it is quietly rationing what is available. Medicare has quietly cut payment for more technical and demanding services ever since the RBRVS law was passed. That purported to rearrange the priorities of Medicare and pay more for primary care and less for specialists. Believing the government’s promises, the GP and internal medicine societies supported it. I remember internist friends chortling about cutting surgeons incomes. Well, they were right. It did cut surgeons’ incomes, along with every other physician’s.

    I have been retired for 15 years now after a 14 hour spine fusion to correct an old injury that was starting to compress my spinal cord. I still work on utilization review in workers comp. That field is full of crooks because the reimbursement rates are low and the bureaucracy impenetrable. Medicare is now getting there. I go to a pain clinic for my chronic back pain. I see the pain doc every three months. I look at my EOB and it shows a charge of $120 and a payment of $ 11.40. I know lots of docs that are dropping out of Medicare. This legislation, no matter what they say, will shift it to Medicaid practices.

    Ironically, they may accelerate a shift to market based medicine as more and more docs give up and go to cash practices. The problem will be that the new graduates with $250,000 loan balances will have nowhere to go. The docs going to cash practice do not have loans to pay off.

  3. Dale Mancini says

    Although I feel that the expansion of government into what should be our private lives and a free market is appalling, and find the price tag to be staggeringly unacceptable, the feature that truly offends and enrages me is the criminalization of personal choice. I’ve grown up with the income tax and proscriptions on various drugs so they don’t bother me – I’m used to them. But my decision whether or not to buy a particular service should be *my* decision alone. Forcing me to purchase a product or service I may not want is no better than extortion and is an affront to both my dignity and liberty.

  4. Dave Ackley says

    What else is in the bills?

    The worst part about Obamacare is that I do not know what other “goodies” are tucked inside of over 4,000 pages of proposed law. Yes, what we have already heard about is bad enough, but what else is there?

    Instead of tort reform the house bill goes backwards and tries to coerce states into abandoning limits on pain and suffering in malpractice cases. Charles Krauthhammer talks about the changes here:


    What other hand-outs to SEIU, ACORN, unions, or other favored Democartic donors are hidden in the bills?

  5. p2_architect says

    It will not do what it purports to do. It will not bring down premiums, improve competition or improve access to healthcare. And it will not fix any of the things that are broken within the current system, such as Medicair and Medicaid coverage.

    It will simply give the federal government an excuse to pry deeper into the private lives of “the people” when it fails, just as they have done with the mortgage fiasco. The government gets invovled through regulation, screws the whole thing up and then comes to the rescue by infusing itself deeper into the system.

  6. Patrick Sweeney says

    It empowers the government to control aspects of people’s lives. More power for them and less for us. Unless stopped, in a few years it will be as embedded as government’s control of elementary and secondary education, college student loans, Social Security and Medicare and it will be as untouchable. Elections going forward will be dominated by incremental improvements to “save” government health care by limiting access to it. How dare you call it “socialism”? It is re-defining the idea of America.

  7. Ted humphreville says

    I really can’t find any good in the bill. I do not deny there are not problems in healthcare but this is not the way to do it.

    There are so many problems with the bill:

    It’s not free market. There are no interstate pools. There is no equal tax treatment. HSA’s will be outlawed. Where’s competitive buying?

    You know the cost estimates will not stand up. The government does not do things well. There are always competing interests that gum up government.

    When I see Peter Orszag say that cost containment will take a long time because we don’t know what treatments are the right ones, I am driven crazy.
    Some Ivy League dork making life and death decisions.
    I went to Harvard. Thank you , NO!

    I see no cost cutting in the bill.
    There is an increase of litigation in the bill, as I understand it , the state have to lift limits on damages. Lawyers are not reigned in at all but encouraged. I see no cost cutting.
    The only cost cutting has to be rationing.

    Who says there will be more access, more quality, and less cost?
    I see the opposite.

    I see premiums going up.
    The Republican plan might cut insurance rates 5-8% but the current proposal will raise it 11%-a swing of almost 20%.

    From an economists view , I see almost everything as uneconomic and a retardant on economic growth.

    It will increase the deficit. Oh that…

    It will tank the economy as Brian Westbury argues in his book “It’s not that bad” with many bad long term effects. Long term effects.
    And you want to create jobs?

    I don’t mind everyone being forced to have insurance but an economist friend of mine says all you really need is good high deductible plan,one that you pay the first five thousand or so.

    It will be a definite loss of freedom. You don’t have to look hard to see that.

    I also hate the demonization of the “insurance companies” -they make only 3.8% profit. If you think they will deny care, the government will be far worse. The dishonesty amazes me. This makes me think it’s all about power.
    A huge power play. What do you want to call it lies, disinformation? Alinskyism? I don’t see a lot of rationality and the bill lacks American common sense.

    Let’s not even talk on the effect on innovation-The Innovator Dilemma Book.

    I see doctors taking a big hit. They are in for a bad time.
    Moreover why be a doctor? The IBD poll had 45% of doctors retiring.
    oh, but you’ll need a lot more doctors. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Then I have professional medical friends telling about Canadian medical horror show stories.

    I’m sure that I can read the bill and come up with twenty other negatives.

    I do know that once a huge entitlement gets passed, it doesn’t go away.

    In summary, I don’t see anything good about the bill.
    It’s interesting that only ten percent of the Obama administration comes from the business community.

    I do think there are problems in medicine. I think the proposed solution a disaster.

    Don’t get me wrong, conservatives should put forth intelligent, measured, commonsense alternatives.

    Please try to convince otherwise.
    I want to hear the reasons.
    I don’t see any good reasons.

    But please list why it’s good and why it’s bad.
    I don’t see the good.

  8. Nick Stuart says

    If, please God, Obamacare stalls and doesn’t go through in any form, one thing is certain. After breathing a huge sigh of relief most of the Republicans in the House and Senate will get back to their real work of arranging tee times with lobbyists, organizing fact-finding junkets to trouble spots like Monaco, inserting porky earmarks into whatever legislation is available, etc.

    My expectation of what the Republicans will do about real healthcare reform, if Obamacare stalls is essentially what they did in 1994 — nothing. They’ll let the Dems keep the issue until next time.

    • Ted humphreville says

      Dear Nick,
      Probably nothing is better.
      How about a bipartisan run at things?
      This is a partisan bill.
      If it was bipartisan it would pass 70-30.

      • Nick Stuart says

        You’re correct that it would be better to do nothing than pass this bill. That said, some things like tort reform and making insurance premiums first-dollar deductible for the self employed (to put them on the same level as people who get insurance through their employers) come to mind.

  9. tennkan says

    I think we should argue this at every level.

    Starting with–it is none of the government’s business. This is nowhere near Constitutional.

    We should be challenging the premises of the liberalism. Hack at the roots, not just pot shot the fruits.

    Today’s Democrats have serious totalitarian impulses. We should constantly ask them “Why do you want so much power?” –And push them for an answer.

    • steve standridge says


      While I appreciate and agree with your sentiment about the constitutionality of many specific prescriptions in these two bills this is, sadly, simply not a salient point in the war. A “liberal” interpretation of the Commerce Clause has been the most abused article in the last half century to justify an ever increasing expansion of government into people’s lives. If you think the unconstitutionality of specific tenets of these bills should be fodder for your arguments against these monstrosities then you need to ask yourself how well that argument has protected individuals citizens against the unlawful taking of their private properties thank-you Kelo v. New London.

      Unfortunately, we lost that argument because of a squishy Republican and, I’m afraid to say, may never get back the same rights we had before. So, don’t hold your breathe that any Democrats and some weak-kneed RINO’s will be swayed by your constitutionality argument – to them, it’s moot since they’ve largely exempted themselves from the very laws they pass – i.e. they will NEVER have to participate in the government run rationed health care they enact.

  10. Robert Estes says

    I always like to start with, ‘what problem are they trying to solve’?
    Here are the candiates, and if you assume that are all wrapped up in the problem set, you can see why Obamacare is a disaster:

    1. Universal, government underwritten access
    2. Lower costs in order to attain/maintain Medicare solvency
    3. Lower costs in order to not bankrupt the states
    4. Create a permanent voting consituency for the Democrat party (the entire, dependent middle-class)

    Items 1-3 can only be accomplished through HYPER-rationing (leading to euthanasia, long wait times for most procedures, the creation of a mediocre, underpaid medical establishment at all levels, the evisceration of both pharmacuetical and bioengineering R&D and production leading to long-term, cheaper health solutions). If this is not devastating enough, consider the Soviet years of food-for-everyone, but with no bread on the shelves of the government stores. Using the same metaphor, I’ve met people for years from both western and Eastern Europe who are always struck by the quantity and diversity of choice and price in American grocery stores. That’s the American way.

    Now ask yourselves, why is healthcare seemingly so hard to unlock to market forces? The key to understanding this is looking at the Washington establishment of funding, control, and regulation. The answer is ‘unleashing’ the private sector and shifting the individual to be the center of the ‘choice’ in services. An example is I went to Walgreens (down the street from my house) for a flu shot. My insurance company paid for it; but I would have easily paid $35 had I not had insurance. Most Americans can afford this. Most Americans would certainly be willing to pay for those who can’t come up with the $35 (like my Church’s free medical clinic). I realize this is not an answer for treating cancer, but it is an example of a thousand small things where innovation and American business and distribution prowess can accommodate one of many small pieces of the healthcare, preventative puzzle. There are a few more UNLEASHING things we could do (like tort reform).

    Washington needs to start over and get out of the way.

  11. Eric MacLeod says

    From a selfish viewpoint as a Canadian, if you allow Obamacare it will take away my safety net. The US healthcare system is the de-facto backup for the soon to implode Canadian one. Stay healthy!

    • Ted humphreville says

      Yes, but you keep reading how you can go to India for heart surgery.
      It was in US News & World Report a few months ago.

  12. William Parker says

    William Parker
    Obamacare is the final nail in our coffin.In a hearing before the House sub-committee on the 2006 budget, the Comptroller General presented a single chart, the projected federal income/expense,2005-2040.If the congress did not change the policies on income/expense, the expense line will cross the income line in 2040. All income in 2040 will go to pay the interest on our debt. There will be no money for Obamacare or any other entitlements,no money for the military, or departments of goverment. Folks that was in 2005. That 2040 date has surely move forward.

    • Ted humphreville says

      I’m starting to believe what Glen Beck is saying -some Columbia’s professor’s thesis-clauven, something or other.
      The idea is to bring the nation to bankruptcy first, then the left takes over.
      Beck is sometimes a very likeable goof but I’m starting to believe what he says.
      Not good. Not good at all.
      As one guy stated below-it’s immoral and that’s not a weak word.

  13. Ted humphreville says

    Tongue in cheek:

    Senator Max Buucus’ coiffed hairdo.
    Media star from Montana.
    Big hair, no cattle.

    Please give us some commonsense and rationality!

  14. Wesley Sugai says

    Aloha Hugh, I have a concern about this bill and it involves how much more devastating it will be in rural medically underserved areas. With the scheduled cuts in Medicare and the significant rise in Medicaid patients due to the recession, rural areas cannot recruit qualified doctors. In our area, most of my colleagues are of AARP vintage and in the next 10-20 years, when we’re all gone, there will be no one to care for our patients.

    Our rural community hospital cannot take a 20% cut from Medicare as it is the major source of income. With a decrease in hospital physician reimbersements, it will have to shut its doors. Our hospital does not have the financial deep pockets of wealthy contributors seen with larger, more prominent institutions. Our situation is not unique. In my private practice, I’ve seen a significant rise in my Medicaid population from a historical 40% to 80% in the recent months. Unfortunately, because of low Medicaid reimbersements, I cannot afford to hire an associate.

    Weslely J Sugai MD, FAAP, Pediatric Dept Chairman, Kona Community Hospital

  15. David Lyday says

    1. 70% of the American people are against ObamaCare, and this administration and this Congress insist they will pass it anyway. Obama lied his way into office, and now these thugs will trample the will of the people.
    2. Betrayal. This could be remembered in history as the time at which the Democratic Party betrayed America.
    3. Everything said by everyone above. This legislation is immoral.

  16. paul gregg says

    having you waste day after day talking about this subject when you could talk about AFpak, Iraq, Iran, China-Japan. Negative economic news. What happened to you recently? You used to have a wide variety of subjects so I could always listen to something intelligent but recently you talked about Rodeo, Donating money to worthwhile groups ( but I don’t need to hear about this from you) and music! WHY!! Please do not rebill me for my subscription I can get your interesting interviews off of other talk show hosts.

  17. Mary Griswold says

    The worst part of the healthcare bill is the selling of the concept that everyone is entitled to government-paid healthcare and that it will be cheaper than private healthcare. The danger here is the attempt to brainwash us into thinking that the government can manage our individual lives better than we can. As I grandmother, I am also not too pleased with the idea that the value (and eventually the quality)of my life will go down drastically if this healthcare bill passes. It has been stated (and I can’t remember where I heard this) that the generation that was the first to kill its children will be the first to be killed by its children. We are there.

  18. Patrick Byers says

    Worst part #1: I’m self-employed, trying to get up to the level where I can afford a ‘catastrophic’ health plan. Obamacare will crush all such plans and make premiums on all other plans skyrocket. I’ll be put in the place where I can’t afford a plan, and subject to penalties for it.
    Worst part #2: No matter what abortion concessions happen now, if the government takes over healthcare, federally funded abortion is ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.

  19. Ted humphreville says

    The lack of anything free market.
    A divorcement from any notion of what this stuff really costs.
    Either the insurance company hides it from you or the government will.
    Great editorial in the WSJ today

  20. steve macdonald says

    The worst thing is that it does not even address the three obvious reforms that would bring instant savings to our current system:
    1. Insurance accross state lines.
    2. Tort reform
    3. Eliminate the tax penalty for individual insurance policies.
    Second worse thing is the incredible morass that will be created via over 2,000 pages of legislation – including 118 new federal bureaucracies.
    Third worse thing is the partisan undertaking on an issue that simply has to have broad bi-patisan support in order to work.
    Fourth is the unbeleivable arrogance and hubris that our political “leadership” shows in trying to cram through, mostly behind closed doors, a program that the majority of Americans reject.
    Fifth is the dubious Constitutionality of requiring a purchase of insurance – without which the package makes even less sense than it presently does.
    Sixth is the time wasted on an issue where the vast majority of Americans are happy with their current situation, at the expense of areas of genuine concern. Congress should be focussing on job generating tax relief, spending cuts and a variety of truly necessary issues.
    Other than the above points, it is a great program.

  21. Jody Steel says

    All the above.

    The blatant usurping of business is a big concern. Over-regulation caused many of the problems, but this administration has inserted itself into private business and commerce to an extreme degree. If anything threatens our economy, it is uncertainty over investments, the validity of contracts, and the threat of government simply destroying business sectors.

    The possibility of employees of doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies losing jobs; the devaluing of investments in insurance funds; general govt. mismanagement and incompetence; in such a big area of our economy this is a large threat to stability.

    This overreach is dangerous. These people make decisions based on what they think should be, rather than facts.

  22. Witty Username says

    The worst thing? the smug, suddenly very vocal office liberal. He’s insufferable.

    Is it not unconstitutional to hit Americans with a nationwide sales tax? (akin to the UK’s VAT – they have to pay for this bill somehow) – surely it drastically inhibits the abilities of individual states to raise revenue?