Okay, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that reads my column what my topic will be this week – the government shutdown and the rollout of Obamacare. I don't consider myself a political expert but I do have a little more perspective on politics than some folks so I get a lot of questions about these issues.
Let's talk about the government shutdown before I go onto Obamacare. First off, I don't think the impact is going to be all that big in the scheme of things. Oh, a lot of services are going to be disrupted and in the short term there is going to be a certain amount of pain and aggravation.
But, in the long term, there will eventually be an agreement reached of some sort and I will bet you that there will be a provision for all furloughed workers to receive back pay. And, the last time this happened, the economic indicators actually improved about a month after the shutdown ended. The government will survive even in spite of Washington's antics.
I think the deeper issue is Obamacare and the long-term impact it is going to have on our nation and our economic well-being. I will predict right now that, within the next five years, we will have a single-payer healthcare system similar to Canada and Great Britain. That cat was let out of the bag early on in this process by many liberal politicians and if nothing changes then they will get their wish.
I hope and pray that I am wrong, but while I might be a little off on how long it takes, I do think it will happen sooner rather than later. If you think that the Canadian model is so great then I guess you are going to be rather happy paying higher taxes for less healthcare. There is a reason the sickest Canadians, who can afford to, come to America for treatment. I just wonder where they will go now.
I have said all along that the changes mandated by Obamacare do nothing to address the issue of healthcare and were always about insurance reform. Someone said that "if you thought healthcare was expensive now, just wait until it's free."
If you are following the news right now you know that the roll out has been somewhat disastrous and even with three years to prepare, it is not "ready for prime time." If you are in favor of the changes you are probably making excuses along the lines that any program of this magnitude will obviously have some glitches and you would be right. My issue is that I don't know if the "glitches" will ever be fully worked out.
Of course, Nancy Pelosi said that we needed to pass the bill so we would know what was in it. Well, unfortunately, we still don't know what's in it. I hear from a variety of professional sources every day and even the folks that are in the healthcare and insurance industries don't know quite how to comply with the thousands of pages of regulations.
Page 2 of 2 - This much I do know. I have already heard many employers talk about reducing full-time staff to part-time so that they won't have to provide health insurance. And, many employers are already contemplating eliminating insurance altogether and paying the penalty. They are doing the math to determine which way will be less expensive to their bottom line.
Before you start berating the greedy companies for making business decisions, put yourself in their position. What would you do if it was your company and your money? If a large portion of employers cut their hours and eliminate benefits then I guess it will put them on more of an "even" playing field with their competitors.
I hope that you really don't think that healthy young people, who don't have health insurance now, will choose to take out insurance for $150 a month or more when they can pay an annual tax penalty of $95 dollars. A commentator the other day said that they thought that the young people would rather get something for their money rather than pay the penalty. I would agree if the difference in cost was closer. But, paying $95 or paying at least $1,800 a year is not even close.
Here is the bottom line. I think that Obamacare is going to fall under its own inefficiencies and faulty logic and sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, by that time, we will not be able to "unring the bell" and the American taxpayer is going to be forced to spend more and more to prop up a poorly designed program. That's a much bigger issue that shutting down the government for a few days. That will have a lasting impact on this country for generations to come.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.