Why ObamaCare has gaping holes

posted at 5:45 pm on August 7, 2010 by Karl

AoSHQ’s Dave In Texas is a bit surprised that the voluminous new healthcare law does not, in fact, define health care:

Wait until the public discovers the government is now literally determining what qualifies as “health care” in America.

That isn’t a typo. ObamaCare mandates that insurers spend a certain percentage of premium dollars on benefits, but Democrats never got around to writing the fine print of what counts as a benefit. So a handful of regulators are now choosing among the tens of thousands of services that doctors, hospitals and insurers offer. Few other government decisions will do more to shape tomorrow’s health market, or what’s left of it.

The WSJ piece just quoted is addressing what will count as medical benefits for insurance “medical loss ratios” under the new law. However, we will see a variation on the same theme when the new Health Choices Czar gets down to the business of deciding minimum levels of benefits for insurance plans to be offered through the government-created Potemkin market known as the Health Exchange.

If Dave — or anyone else — is surprised that the healthcare law does not define what health care gets financed and what does not, it is probably due to thinking that the Congressional intent was to establish healthcare policy. In reality, the Congressional intent was to pass a healthcare law assuming control over the system. One of the keys to passing ObamaCare was to buy off the “stakeholders” (interest groups) who were in a position to lobby and advertise against it — AHIP (Big Insurance), AMA, AHA, etc. Addressing issues like “what is health care” would have increased the odds of these groups fighting with each other and among themselves, contrary to the basic goal of passing a bill into law. Moreover, the flap over the US Preventive Services Task Force’s “guideline” — that women in their 40s should stop routine annual mammograms and older women should cut back to biannual exams — demonstrates why Congress would have no interest in the details of the government-defined insurance plans, where increasing numbers of people will eventually be dumped if the law gets fully implemented. The proles were already upset enough at the ruling class; Congress certainly wanted to avoid offending any constituency or group seeking inclusion of their disease, condition, or treatment in the government benefits package(s).

Indeed, Congress wanted to save those fights for later. Punting any issue likely to cause controversy keeps the Beltway carousel spinning. The interest groups already mentioned, plus those lobbying on everything to breast cancer to AIDS to chiropractic to medical device manufacturers will all be gearing up to lobby the vast new bureaucracies created under Obamacare for favorable consideration of one sort or another. Tossing the law’s hot potatoes to unelected civil servants allows Congresspeople to play the white knights, working the Rube Goldberg-esque machinery on behalf of their constituents and their donors. At the outset, this will be directed to establishing generous minimum benefits. Later, when the spiralling costs of the program produce plans for rationing care, pols will intervene to “save” valuable benefits from the bureaucratic reaper. The pols will also help steer groups to the crucial and costly counsel provided by their former staffers, to be employed at the K Street firm of “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”

In short, this process is how Congress disclaims responsibility for Leviathan it creates, as a way of squeezing money from the public to perpetuate their incumbency and their fiefdoms. It is a process Congress has honed over decades of legislation. But now that they are treading into matters of life and death, perhaps more people will see it for what it is.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.

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That’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

misterdregs on August 7, 2010 at 5:58 PM


Akzed on August 7, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Why is this even a topic of discussion? The issue should be introducing one bill after another to completely repeal Obamacare. Make Democrats vote on it over and over again, and in the best case scenario have the President veto bills.

But first, political wimps such as McCain and McConnell need to be shown the door.

doufree on August 7, 2010 at 6:03 PM

This of course will spawn innumerable interst groups, like, Americans for Healthcare Benefits for Lupus Victims, Gout Suffers of America, you name it.

However, I’m sure that the plethora of maladies suffered by sodomists will be covered from Day One.

Akzed on August 7, 2010 at 6:04 PM

I feel we are all breaking a law – some we know of some we don’t – it’s all for our own good – some times I even unbuckle my seat belt -just to show the Authorities that I am still the Boss (when they aren’t looking of coarse)

wheels on August 7, 2010 at 6:06 PM

Absolute control over every living soul is their aim and has been for decades. That is what is behind most of what they do.

Feminists don’t care what happens to women in Islam, or Bill Clinton’s conduct, nor do they tolerate Sarah Palin.

Antifa (anti-fascists) are in fact fascist.
Anti-racists are in fact racist.
Equal rights advocates are for special privileges.
Gay marriage isn’t about marriage.
Healthcare isn’t about health.

No one on the left is what they claim to be. Too many conservatives continue to go along with them based on nothing else but their word which they have broken time and time again.

sharrukin on August 7, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Hope and Change replaced Courage and Honor.

Any old fogie who voted for Obama because it was “historical”, “it was the end of the civil rights era”, “he was going to pay my mortgage” deserves what their going to get.

Death panels? To borrow a phrase … You bet’cha.

The 80 year old granny needing a hip replacement vs. the 23 y/o homosexual with AIDS.

Who’s going to get preference for “free” treatment?

BowHuntingTexas on August 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Seeing that the hc bill had been written for years for while dems waited for just the right moment to push it through, anything and everything that is or is not in it is by design. It has gaping holes in it simply because they were intended to be filled later with whatever they wanted.

“We hereby pass this law that allows us to do anything we go..amn well want to and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

It’s like a like a DA having a “fill-in-the-blank” law book:

“You’re charged with (fill in the blank) and if when convicted will be sentenced to (pick one: 30 days/10 years/death) if when found guilty in my brother-in-law’s court”.

Don’t you just love government?

Rod on August 7, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Just pay the fine and move on

Jimbotheidiot on August 7,2010 at 6:17 PM

CWforFreedom on August 7, 2010 at 6:22 PM

So a handful of regulators are now choosing among the tens of thousands of services that doctors, hospitals and insurers offer.

Liberals: Death Panels is a mischaracterization!

BuckeyeSam on August 7, 2010 at 6:40 PM

“Healthcare” will go the same route as “education”. It will be all about “more money for the providers” just like it’s “more money for the educators”. The amount of money required will be astronomical!

RADIOONE on August 7, 2010 at 6:42 PM

this is spot-on, nice work. I agree with your assertion that its a rube, a means to keep the incumbency carousel spinning and allow the pols to appear a la deus ex machina and protect “benefits” and appear the savior. In fact, they’ll be the ones using the carrot and the stick with this boondoggle. No one will be healthier, it’s merely a dog and pony show with the name “healthcare” on it. They won’t be interested in outcomes, diagnoses, new research, etc…it’ll all be centered upon a ruse…make the public think that big daddy sugar is taken care of you while he’s ripping you off, making you work twice as hard to take care of life’s most basic needs.

it’s an enormous bureacracy that they themselves will not contend within as patients.

ted c on August 7, 2010 at 6:44 PM

I guess Karl missed MKH’s short little piece the other day…

Seven Percent Solution on August 7, 2010 at 6:44 PM

When budget cuts come…it’ll be doctors with their necks on the chopping blocks, just like the “firefighters and teachers’ and such are right now. Never mind the administrators or fat cats, or middle men or parking lot inspectors ….nawh…it’ll be the guys who actually help people that, if cut, the voters will suffer, hence, the voters better favor more spending—-aka The Democrat Plan.

they are so scroomed.

ted c on August 7, 2010 at 6:46 PM

has gaping holes

Rhetorical right?!?!?!

I ain’t touching that. It’s got BAN HAMMER all over it!!

RealMc on August 7, 2010 at 6:50 PM

It will blow your mind to learn how it is over reaching. All residents will submit and record body mass measurements. If you are phat, you will cost more to cover. It is not just about medical care but it will open the door to give them authority on what you need to do and how you will be required to change your lifestyle.
Fat white middle class women will be blocked from the ice cream store. Will gays be told they can’t have permision to go on dates? It is dangerous financially to the cost of healthcare in both cases. Both cases have different life expectancies.
Will I be treated better than Obama because i do not smoke? .

seven on August 7, 2010 at 7:10 PM

Well, I suppose we could all tell our doctors that they aren’t allowed to share our personal health information with the government. What are they gonna do – come to our houses and take measurements themselves?

TeresainFortWorth on August 7, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Cuz a bunch of gaping holes wrote it?

lorien1973 on August 7, 2010 at 7:41 PM

That’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

misterdregs on August 7, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Hell Yes!!!

Maquis on August 7, 2010 at 9:38 PM

That’s not a bug, it’s a feature.
misterdregs on August 7, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Just so. Let the bureaucrats and federal judges fill in the fine print later . . . which is why repeal is a necessary goal.

Adjoran on August 8, 2010 at 2:48 AM

Proverbs 25:14 As clouds and wind without rain, So is he who boasts of gifts deceptively.

straw man’s empty suit? Unfortunately, Obama’s absolutely full of it. He couldn’t restrain himself from exuding Marxism if he tried. His entire universe is Marx. There are limits.

maverick muse on August 8, 2010 at 8:56 AM

seven on August 7, 2010 at 7:10 PM: All residents will submit and record body mass measurements. If you are phat, you will cost more to cover. It is not just about medical care but it will open the door to give them authority on what you need to do and how you will be required to change your lifestyle.

Already happening in the private sector. My wife’s company (not the insurance company, but her employer – a national chain), has “offered” all employees their December insurance premium deduction in exchange for all family member’s BMI numbers, cholesterol LDL/HDL numbers, height and age. The sheeple employees, most of them Obots – big surprise – are in a tizzy to get their paperwork in the mail for their “free” month.

We passed.

scituate_tgr on August 8, 2010 at 10:10 AM

So let me get this straight… Congress just decided that it would let others figure out what healthcare is and that Congress had complete oversight on it? So Congress doesn’t really decide anything, but pushes lots of bucks over to bureaucrats to decide for them…

It seems to me that since this job of being a Congresscritter is so hard that they should just delegate the hard work to other people… oh… wait… they do that with their hand-picked staff members and then don’t bother to read what they put in.


Tellya what, how about we get rid of the middle-man and elect the staff members, instead? If Congresscritters don’t write the law, don’t define the law, and then leave it for others to decide what the law is, then we really don’t need the Congresscritters but the people figuring this stuff out. Which is the Congressional staff.

There are about 9,000 staff members in the House, if memory serves (full and part time).

Which is very close to 1:30,000 representation to get a Max House for the US.

So if can just get Congress to set the size of the House to be a maximum proportion we would have thoroughly elected staff members called ‘Representatives’ who would then argue these things out in public…

What a novel idea!

ajacksonian on August 8, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I guess Karl missed MKH’s short little piece the other day…

Seven Percent Solution on August 7, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Nope. I not only read it, but also promoted it on Twitter.

I’m making a different point than they did — and one that’s applicable to any major piece of legislation moving through Congress, not just ObamaCare.

Karl on August 8, 2010 at 2:37 PM