Friday, May 24, 2013

Will Obamacare's success depend of the kindness and goodwill of strangers (young , healthy ones)?

 Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel seems to make exactly that point in this WSJ opinion piece.

Quoting Dr. Emanuel :

"Here is the specific problem: Insurance companies worry that young people, especially young men, already think they are invincible, and they are bewildered about the health-care reform in general and exchanges in particular. They may tune out, forego purchasing health insurance and opt to pay a penalty instead when their taxes come due.
The consequence would be a disproportionate number of older and sicker people purchasing insurance, which will raise insurance premiums and, in turn, discourage more people from enrolling. This reluctance to enroll would damage a key aspect of reform."

Dr. Emanuel goes on with this bit of wishful thinking.

"... The president connects with young people, too, so he needs to use that bond and get out there to convince them to sign up for health insurance to help this central part of his legacy....

 Second, we need to make clear as a society that buying insurance is part of individual responsibility. If you don't have insurance and you need to go to the emergency room or unexpectedly get diagnosed with cancer, you are free- riding on others."

Question for the day. How often have mammoth ,disruptive  and costly social programs succeed on the basis of exhorting people to do the "right thing"? Is this a sign of desperation on the part of the diminishing number of vocal advocates for Obamacare that they resort to a plea for some to act mainly in the interest of others?

Plans and schemes that ignore the persistent and widespread tendency of humans to act in their own self interest have seldom enjoyed lasting success.

Mises and Hayek in their efforts in the Socialist Calculation debate  emphasized that central planing would fail because of two problems;the knowledge problem and the incentive problem. Planning would fail in the absence of the guidance from prices derived from the free market and because of the inherent persistent characteristic of humans to act in their own self interest. The history of the 20th century should have made clear to all but the clueless  that depending on the transformation of human nature for something to work  was not a viable plan.

h/t to Dr. Paul Hsieh for his insightful, recent commentary in PJ Media ("Is Obamacare's Fatal Flaw taking effect?") in which he discusses Emmanuel's essay as well as other developments strongly suggesting that Obamacare is unraveling before it is fully implemented as increasing number of former supporters seem to be jumping ship.See here.

1 comment:

MedicalSoundProofingSolutions said...

On first reading (I always comment on first reading), it appears from Dr. Zeke's second paragraph that he never really had much faith in the enterprise from the get-go. I always thought that the individual mandate was more of a sop to the private insurers to get them to go along with this for the individual (not employer-based) market. Since healthy young people aren't in this market to any great extent now, I don't see where the premium increases are going to come from. That is, unless Dr. Zeke knows something we don't know.