Monday, March 22, 2010

Health care for all: what's not to like?

How you feel this morning about the new health care legislation depends on where you are in the health industry universe.

Hospitals and doctors are happy because they just got lots of new customers. And they don't have to discount anything to get them. The government is just going to send them their way.

The pharmaceutical industry is happy cause they got new customers too, but they face a few complicated additional taxes and mandated cost reductions.

The local pharmacies are tickled that new money will be flowing their way.

Business owners are going to have to hire almost as many accountants, lawyers and HR people as Sarbanes-Oxley caused them to in order to figure out what all this means.

So HR folks and accountants have found a new industry (just like IT people did with the whole Y2K mess).

Business owners know one thing. Their costs just went up. So less money to grow their business and add jobs.

So, if you are an employee, somebody somewhere will be looking at your name on the list of keep or release in the next few weeks.

If you are an insurance company, the government just told you how you have to run your business. And it's not going to be inexpensive. So, you are going to have to raise rates to cover these new limitless policies. Even though you are also going to gain new customers, you have no choice to but to raise rates.

If you are a lawyer, you are giddy. No tort reform was included in the legislation. More patients means more lawsuits.

If you run a tanning salon, there is a new 10% tax on you. So the cost of getting that other-worldly orange glow like the folks on "Jersey Shore" just got more expensive.

If you are in poverty, the government is coming with new entitlement programs. You will have health insurance that you don't have to pay for.

If you are wealthy, buckle up. You won't be much longer. You will be taxed, re-taxed and double-taxed.

If you are an American, the government has just spent another trillion dollars, and hasn't yet figured out that tax and spend, or spend and tax, isn't a great way to stimulate economic growth.

So net net, we'll all be healthier and poorer.

Our debt will go up. Which means our currency will be devalued internationally.

So celebrate for a short while if you feel like you won the lottery.

The celebration of a trillion dollar program that has to be paid for by somebody will soon turn into the reality of, "Oh, shit. Never thought about that."

Please remember the immortal words of P.J. O'Rourke. (P.J. was once a wide-eyed liberal as a young journalist. Free love, free everything was his mantra. Then he grew up and started understanding how the world really works.)

"Santa Claus is a Democrat. God is a Republican."

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