Is Obamacare unhealthy? Maybe one way to answer this is to ask if the healthcare industry is unhealthy even apart from Obamacare.
The major force behind Obamacare was that people either cannot afford health insurance, or that they lose it because they lose their jobs. I don’t doubt that there are many people who have suffered under such conditions (though I think many more will be suffering in many different ways under Obamacare) but it is important to realize that, for some people, losing their health insurance may have saved their lives.
Remember: In any industry where a free market exists there are two forces at work. One force, of course, are customers paying for products that they need or want. But the other force are providers who want to be able to get more customers and offer more valuable services in order to get paid more. Our healthcare system, going back at least to World War II has constantly used government interventions to reduce the second force. The healthcare industry has been able to simply tell us what we need and how much it should cost. Prices are almost never discussed so that patients are treated as the slaves of hospitals and doctors.
And in that context, one also finds that the needs of patients are not actually met. The “experts” of the health industry will tell the patient what he or she needs and how much to pay for it.
I noticed this in a Huffington Post article, if you can believe it. The HuffPo has a regular feature on “How I Lost Weight,” in which people send in their stories along with pictures.
This recent article was headlined, “How A Breakup Led To A 136-Pound Weight Loss For Lisa Jarrett.” I assume the magazine editors chose the headline. What is noticeable is that there are two “breakups” in her story. Her “breaking point” came when she ended her relationship with her boyfriend and when another relationship was ended.
According to Jarrett,
Things went from bad to worse when I moved to Olympia, Washington. I was in an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship and was suffering from depression and anxiety. I received treatment for said psychological ailments by way of prescription medication (I was on eight different meds at one point in time), and instead of making things better, it actually helped to make my life worse. It wasn’t long before I had gained so much weight I saw the numbers “336” light up on the scale at the doctor’s office.
Jarrett eventually decided to make changes. Some she made for herself. She moved into her college’s dorms where she had a better environment, and thus precipitated the breakup with her boyfriend. Other changes happened to her against her will. Her car broke down and she had to walk and bike more (I guess this could be a third “breakup”).
But she also lost her job, and this made a significant change in her life:
A few months later, I lost my health insurance, and while I didn’t recognize it at the time, it was one of the best things that happened to me. I was forced to withdraw from my medications, and that is when I saw them for what they were – a crutch to keep me from dealing with the realities of the outside world.
Being drug-free and fully engaged, Jarrett ate better (without being excessive) and exercised more. As a result she saw dramatic health and weight improvement.
I’m very blessed and fortunate to have a second chance at life. The way I used to live wasn’t really living at all, and sometimes I wonder how I get so lucky to wake up and live another day. Being heavy like I was wasn’t really living, it was existing. No one should have to go on like that if they can help it. Now, I am happy and energetic.
What would have happened if Jarrett’s former life had continued so that she developed further health problems? Undoubtedly, she would have received more prescriptions through her health insurance!
The medical industry would have been totally fine with Jarrett not living but “existing” until she died.
I am not claiming that everyone would be healthier to not have health insurance. I do think, however, that this mindset that we are all at the mercy of doctors and drugs rather than seeing ourselves as actively responsible for our own health is fuel for Obamacare and is unhealthy for people no matter how much free money we get from the government. Even the laws and policies that politicians try to impose on us are detrimental in this way. They all assume that none of us is responsible for our lives; we are just supposed to wait for our leaders to properly feed and medicate us.
Obviously, things happen that are beyond our control. But that doesn’t mean this passive attitude is warranted or safe for us. There is a lot we can do by taking responsibility for our lives. The Obamacare regime encourages us to not do what we should.
For what it’s worth, this principle also applies to the welfare state and economic wellbeing in general.