Obamacare: Winners, Losers and Politics

This was another post that messed up the home page possibly because I removed an image while removing part of the original post. I’m going to try posting again. The comments are now pasted at the bottom of the post. There’s a chance that this post will also cause problems with the home page in which case I’ll try again — warning for email subscribers….

My Comment:

I was hoping for a balanced discussion of the economics of Obamacare. The comments – thank you – help achieve some balance. 

Of course there is no free lunch and obviously Obamacare is going to shift costs between groups. How this plays out is an interesting discussion. There are so many factors involved that it’s almost impossible to weave them together and predict outcomes.


Original Post (censored version):

Obamacare: Winners and Losers

By Paul Price of Market Shadows 

No Free Lunch - Milton Friedman


There is “No Free Lunch.” Free healthcare does not exist.

Here is a short list of areas where you can win on Obamacare and areas where you might lose–the results are not mutually exclusive.

 Obamacare's Winners  &  Losers



  1. Garrett Woolley says:

    Excellent summary Dr. Price!

  2. Polly serial says:

    I typically enjoy your blog, and appreciate that you do this for free, but this is making me question the relevance of your writing. There isn’t even a vague nod to balanced thinking in this piece.

  3. Everything you say is true.
    Just a few questions:
    Who is currently paying for all the ambulance rides and emergency room supplied medical care for the uninsured and under-insured?
    Why are the medical costs as a percentage of GDP much higher in this country than any other industrialized country?
    Why does the higher amount spent bring some of the poorest statistical outcomes?
    Why is it that even among insured people, medical costs rank among the highest causes of personal bankruptcy.

    I have a friend who is a medical insurance broker and he makes the point that we are apparently moving from one broken system to another broken system.
    Unless your willing to shut to the doors of emergency rooms, and control the costs or availability of 100K/year pill regiments, and 70K stomach stapling, it isn’t a simple question of no free lunch, or not. It quickly becomes multiple tangled questions such as how expensive the lunch is going to be, how filling is it, and how will anybody ever be able to afford the tab?

    I suppose if there were easy solutions they would have been found decades ago.


    Dr. Paul Price says:


    A better solution would have been to first set up a pool to cover all those with preexisting conditions. They need to be guaranteed care and must be subsidized.

    One set of standardized plans for all Americans would have been a major step forward over having 47 different state plans. That this wasn’t done when starting from scratch was absurd. Including non-citizens on a cost-free basis is not allowed in any other country (Canada, England, France etc. actively disallow foreigners from reaping free coverage simply because they are in their countries. They protect their taxpayers from the need to support people not intended to be covered.

    Obamacare does not lower healthcare expenses. It merely shifts the costs from one set of people to another. Fully subsidized coverage is ‘free’ to recipients. Premiums for all non-subsidized people, whether covered at work or privately, must rise dramatically to cover the costs of the group that doesn’t pay anything. The ACA is simply the next step in class warfare. It is designed to penalize those who work and earn in order to give more ‘free stuff’ to those who pay zero, ore close to zero in Federal income tax already.

    The ultimate goal of the ACA is to make the current Obamacare program so bad that the public will clamor for a single-payer system which puts the government in full charge. All members of congress, and their staffs, would continue to be exempt from this monstrosity, of course.

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  1. Stephan Haller says:

    The most important economic principle is:
    “People respond to incentives”
    So if other people pay for your health expenditures or if the government covers your healthcare bills with other people’s money, negative incentives are created.
    People won’t care so much about their health and therefore impose costs on other people, because you as an individual only pay a small percentage of the higher costs, which are a result of your bad behavior like smoking or eating unhealthy food.
    Here’s a link to a great free market solution for the healthcare system problems:

    • Stephan,

      I agree completely. When care is ‘free’ it gets used more than it would otherwise. The ACA will ramp up American healthcare spending dramatically – exactly the opposite of what it claimed it would do.

      • Stephan Haller says:

        Thanks Dr. Price.
        All you Obamacare supporters trust me, I know what I’m talking about, because I live in Germany.
        90% of the Germans are forced into a Obamacare like system and only 10% are allowed to buy private health insurance.
        The outcome is always the same in every socialistic system: Standing in lines.
        When you need for instance an appointment for magnetic resonance imaging the doctor will tell you to come back in 6-12 weeks, when I tell him that I have private health coverage my waiting time falls to 30min.
        Why? Because the government healthcare system pays the doctors below costs. A big chunk of the premiums for the governmental health insurance plan his eaten up by gigantic administration expenses.
        It is always the same, when government interferes in markets:
        1. Quality goes down.
        2. Prices go up
        3. In the end the system blows up.
        If government knows better than markets do, why did East Germany go broke?

  2. Ilene has censured my original post to suit her political convictions. You can see the entire piece as I wrote it by using the link below.


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