The Mobius Loop of the government is never ending. (Yes, the inane redundancy meaningfully accentuates “government”.) Let me explain using the simplest and most relevant example available.
Any person with a fifth grade education (high school diploma, if achieved via public education system) knows that you cannot trust what a politician says. Most will say anything, and then do what they choose. Some go a bit beyond that and some say exactly the opposite of what they intend.
President Obama claimed that the cost of health care in America is too high for many to pay and therefore some 43 million Americans were uninsured. His plan, as expressed, was to bring down the cost of health care so that everyone will have access to an affordable medical plan.
Central to the claim was that too many people use hospital emergency rooms for their basic health care needs. Since no one can be turned away from emergency care, the waiting rooms became triage centers. In some cases, people with non-life threatening bleeding wounds or crushed or broken bones would be put on temporary hold while all the doctors completed treating others for flu, migraines, and other non-life threatening ailments. This was unacceptable. Billing many of the patients became an extra financial burden for hospitals because most of the patients using the services gave fictitious names and false addresses.
Since PPACA (Obamacare) passed in March 2010, health insurance premiums have risen over 50% for many plans with some now approaching double their former cost. Additionally, due to the increased cost, some employers can no longer afford to cover all their workers and still attain a reasonable profit. Thus, many have downsized leaving some workers without a job or health insurance. The load for emergency rooms now grows more rapidly.
On top of that, the government reimbursement to doctors and hospitals for Medicare and Medicaid (for the perpetually indigent and recently unemployed workers) is so little that many doctors in private practice now decline to see new patients covered by these plans.
According to Reuters, the IRS recently released the final rules associated with the cost cutting law regarding taxing medical devices. As of Dec. 31, a 2.3% tax will be assessed on medical devices ranging from tongue depressors to replacement hip joints to pacemakers. The new tax is imposed to offset the cost of Obamacare. Not only will the new tax drive up the cost of human health care products and devices, it will also affect veterinary visits for Snowball, Rover, and Trigger. It seems that many of the utensils and devices recently tagged extra-taxable are also used for animal care.
Personally, I’m having trouble understanding how the new tax is supposed to lower the cost of health care for the patient. Additional costs to doctors or hospitals are ultimately born by the patient. Either increased premiums and co-pay or diminished care are the only foreseeable results of this new tax.
Here’s the Mobius.
- Medicare, and Medicaid reimbursements, became too costly.
- Too few people received adequate affordable health care.
- The government imposed Obamacare on the states and people to lower the cost of health care so that more people receive competent care.
- The new law (PPACA) imposes fines, taxes, and compliance regulations on medical professionals and the medical service industry.
- The government created a regulatory bureaucracy network of 36,000+ lawyers, administrators, and clerks to implement the new law.
- The new bureaucratic network creates laws, rules, and regulations costing doctors and hospitals to spend billions of dollars in compliance.
- The government hires an additional 16,000 IRS agents just to audit businesses, doctors, hospitals, and managed care facilities. They will impose fines for noncompliance or incomplete compliance and be responsible for the collection of fines, fees, and taxes.
- Doctors cut staff to reduce increased costs associated with Obamacare.
- Doctors leave patient practice for other medical related vocations.
- Remaining doctors give each patient abbreviated time for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment because WalMart-like volume is required to maintain a practice and earn a living commensurate with their abilities and required ongoing education.
- Doctors refuse to see patients because they cannot afford to wait for months before receiving government reimbursement for their services and supplies consumed in treatment.
- Hospitals backlog more diseased, germ-spreading patients in emergency rooms for longer periods.
- The government raises taxes on personal income, corporate income, farm products, machinery, manufacturing, and general industry to offset the new costs incurred to reduce medical care expenditures.
- Employers downsize to avoid requisite compliance for larger companies.
- Great numbers of formerly employed join the ranks of unemployed and become Welfare and Medicaid recipients.
- More people have less money to spend on health care co-pays due to inflated costs caused by increased taxation.
- Government raises taxes to pay for expanded staff required to oversee new regulations collection of increased taxes that go to the diminished care we all receive.
Take a situation, make it less productive and more expensive, exacerbate the problem, encumber the previously unburdened to pay for it, grow government to oversee the non problem then claim you’ve improved the situation and claim victory. That’s the government Mobius.