ObamaCare's serious complications

The Government Accountability Office last year calculated that for the IRS alone, implementing ObamaCare would be a “massive undertaking that involves 47 different statutory provisions and extensive coordination.” Among them: “disclosure of taxpayer information for determining subsidy eligibility,” “drug manufacturer tax” and “high-cost health plan tax.” Senate staffers created a mind-boggling graphic showing ObamaCare’s various agencies and regulators, which can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/acamess…

The complexities of ObamaCare make it less likely to achieve its goals, but the broader point is that health-care reform didn’t have to be this morass. Liberals and conservatives agree on the two big problems in health care, an industry that accounts for 18% of GDP: that almost 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance, and that employer-provided coverage gives patients little incentive to monitor spending. Even if Americans want to control costs, they have almost no information to let them compare prices.

Both problems grew out of World War II wage and price controls. Companies got around wage controls by providing health insurance, which Washington has treated as an untaxable benefit ever since.

The result is that employees have been largely insulated from the costs of health care, most of which have been paid by employers.