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Obamacare Will Cost $50,000 for Each Newly Insured American

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The true cost of Obamacare was recently revealed in the pages of a new Congressional Budget Office report. The total bill for the president's program is estimated to reach $1.9 trillion over the next 10 years.

“If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.”

—P.J. O’Rourke

“There’s no such thing as free anything,” my physician-dad once told me. “Someone has to pay and when it comes to healthcare—the number can get real big.” I wonder if we’ll ever learn that lesson.

The true cost of Obamacare was recently revealed in the pages of a new Congressional Budget Office report. The total bill for the president’s program is estimated to reach $1.9 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan CBO. The law’s expenses would fall to about $1.3 trillion when new Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes, penalties, and fees are included. Even with all that spending, up to 31 million citizens still will not have health insurance coverage.

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According to the CBO report, the best-case scenario is that Obamacare will result in 24-27 million new people getting insurance by 2025. However, at a total cost of $1.35 trillion, American taxpayers will be paying a whopping $50,000 for each newly insured person. When President Obama first pitched his health insurance plan to Congress back in 2009, he said it would cost about $900 billion to implement over a decade.

I’ll admit that I’ve made up my mind on government-run anything—especially healthcare. My belief is it generally doesn’t work. And I know I’m not alone on this one. In talking with doctors through the years, it’s been my experience that most are all too familiar with the odious and ineffective work habits of government. Think—Medicare bureaucracy, malpractice reform, and taxes.

And it’s not just the big bill that makes the ACA problematic. “Patient access to doctors is approaching a perfect storm of decreased physician supply, more demand for medical care, and doctors increasingly refusing to see low-paying Medicare or Medicaid patients,” explains Merrill Mathews, PhD, a healthcare policy expert at the Institute for Policy Innovation. “If the ‘promise’ of Obamacare’s access to health-care is to be kept, government will eventually have to force doctors to accept Obamacare-covered patients.”

In the end, I suppose is just a matter of differing philosophies. My dad claimed that 75% of all satisfying physician-patient relationship comes from the patient’s positive feelings for the doctor. “If it’s good, you can really make a difference as a healer,” he would say. I just can’t see government involvement—and if they’re paying they’re going to be involved—making the doctor-patient connection any better.

Finally, if we’re going to agree that healthcare is a right then logic and fairness would dictate that along with every right comes a responsibility. And when it comes to personal responsibility for healthcare, far too many Americans fail that test. Whether it’s proper diet, exercise, annual check-ups, or taking needed medications—I’m sad to say—the majority of people don’t take care of themselves. And that won’t change just because government decides to foot the health bill.

No wonder most physicians are pessimistic about the future of medicine.


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