Commentary Magazine


It’s Not About the Price of Pizza

Yesterday, Jonathan wrote about the increased price of pizza for customers of Papa John’s in light of the Affordable Care Act, showcasing a very real-world and imminent example of how the healthcare law will increase costs not just for taxpayers, but also for consumers. Many of our respondents held this view:

It is shocking that the CEO of Papa John’s and this magazine commentator would begrduge the near-poor workers of that company health insurance — and better healthcare for a few cents per pie!! Our country is based on the premise that we all pay a little more to help those less fortunate — the key here is “a little more.” Does anyone really object to that??

What this person and other liberals have wrong is this: It’s not about the price of pizza. If it were actually possible to improve healthcare for millions of Americans and insure millions more, conservatives would be on board. The basis of conservative opposition to ObamaCare is this: We do not think it will help the majority of Americans. The bill is titled the “Affordable Care Act,” but does nothing to make healthcare more affordable, nor will it improve health care. In reality, it provides a worse standard of care at a higher cost.

Under ObamaCare, 17 million Americans will be added to Medicaid’s rolls in order to move some Americans from the uninsured to the insured column. Are they actually better off? In National Review, Avik Roy demonstrates why they are not. He explains:

In July 2010, at National Review Online’s Critical Condition blog, I wrote about a University of Virginia study, published in Annals of Surgery, finding that surgical patients on Medicaid endured a 97 percent higher likelihood of in-hospital death than patients with private insurance, and a 13 percent greater chance of death than those with no insurance at all. I noted several other clinical studies that showed similar results.

Roy is an expert on the perils of Medicaid and recently published a heartbreaking story about a young boy on Medicaid who died from a simple tooth abscess. This story is heartbreaking not only because it was entirely preventable, but also because this is the broken system that millions of vulnerable Americans are subjected to and millions more are about to experience. Two years ago, before I was with COMMENTARY, and before I even worked in the conservative movement, I wrote a post on my personal blog about growing up on Medicaid. This young boy’s story about dying from a tooth abscess could have been my own; it almost was. I could not find a reputable dentist that would accept my insurance and when I was finally able to get an appointment with a dentist that accepted Medicaid I experienced nothing but fraud and incompetence. I also could not find a reliable oral surgeon for a simple wisdom tooth extraction. The one I ended up with charged Medicaid for general anesthesia which he did not administer — I was wide awake for my entire surgery. My experience was far from unique, and this is the system that we’re now set to expand under ObamaCare.

There are many more costly provisions on deck for ObamaCare before we see the full effect of the healthcare law. Jonathan’s post about the increased cost of pizza was just the tip of the iceberg. Not only will we see more costs ahead (in the form of increased goods and services, taxes and healthcare premiums), but we will also see a marked decline in the quality of our healthcare with fewer doctors to administer it.

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