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President Obama signs Obamacare

How to handle conflicting headlines about Obamacare

Look at these conflicting headlines about Obamacare…

How can you make sense of these conflicting headlines? Consider the following four thoughts…
1. When you see conflicting claims, suspect cherry picking
Average insurance premiums can’t be both rising and falling. Obamacare can’t be both succeeding and failing. Some of these stories are cherry-picking the data, but which ones? You might determine that by digging into the details, but even then you would still have a problem…
Are the premiums rising or falling because of Obamacare, as the headlines claim, or for some other reason? Which brings me to my next point…
2. Always remember that controlled studies are rarely possible in social “science”
Science has authority because it delivers reproducible results. It does this by controlling variables to discover fundamental causes. But this can’t be done in something as complex as our healthcare system. Just ponder how much your life changes from moment to moment in terms of stress, diet, exercise, and a host of other factors. A true social science would have to control for all these variables, not just for you, but for all 330 million Americans.
But even then you would only be scratching the surface, because there are similar variables for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. Plus different healthcare laws from state to state, and even county to county. So…
If insurance costs are rising or falling, is it because of Obamacare, or for some other reason or cluster of causes? Statisticians try to control for such variables mathematically. But here’s the rub…

No one is capable of running experiments on whole societies to test if reality agrees with their mathematical controls, or repeat those experiments to see if they can reproduce the results!

Thus, even when you figure out something simple, like whether average insurance premiums are rising or falling, you still can’t tell if Obamacare is the cause. But even if you could, you would still be lost because of this…
3. The headlines are comparing two statist systems, NOT a statist system vs. a free market
Even if you know that Obamacare is succeeding or failing versus the system we had before, you still won’t know if either approach is actually better than a free market. Of course…
Many will claim we once had a free market system, and that things like Medicare and Medicaid were needed to correct its flaws. Untrue. Modern medicine is only about a century old. The State has been meddling with it the whole time. To give you just one example out of many…
There were changes in tax laws in the 1940s that caused health insurance to be tied to employment. When people lost their jobs they lost their insurance too, and many couldn’t get new coverage because of pre-existing conditions. That bit of statist meddling came decades before Medicare and Medicaid. It also created some of the conditions that were used to “justify” a host of programs and reforms, such as HMOs.
There were also changes in healthcare practices, diet, and overall societal wealth. The idea that anyone could untangle these factors is simply absurd. Which brings me to my last point…
4. Those advocating a violence-based approach have the burden of proof, and that proof is inherently unavailable.
Most of us don’t use violence in our daily lives. We don’t point guns at people and say, “I know a better way to provide health care. Do it my way or I’ll hurt you.” If we did behave this way our neighbors would quite rightly take steps to defend themselves.
Instead, we must use persuasion rather than violence to get our way. We have to marshal evidence and account for variables. Our effort to do this might persuade some, but the evidence required to persuade everyone is inherently unavailable, for the reasons you have seen. Still…
Statist plans for society always seem to require that everyone participate. This is why they require violence to enact.
That, I think, is all you need to know.
You don’t need to know which of the above headlines are based on studies that cherry picked the evidence. You only need to know that the statist plan requires violence, and that the evidence to potentially justify that violence is inherently unavailable. What we need instead of statist violence are competing Voluntary Sector plans, none of which require everyone to participate at the point of a gun. Go forth and argue thusly.

Show Comments 1

 

  1. The biggest single incident of state meddling in healthcare, began in 1914 with passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act.
    Prior to 1914, one’s race had no impact on one’s right to obtain any kind of health care, whether one paid out of pocket for it, or one went to someone and begged to get it for free.
    After 1914, it became a matter of Federal statute, that African-Americans suffered “Negro brain disorder”, a disease manifested by the shape of the invisible interior of the skull, which made it dangerous for one to consume opioid drugs or coca-derived drugs, because addiction might result.
    In 102 years of the US Drug War, the entire body of scientific research has proven this concept false. “Negro brain disorder” is not a real disease. Addiction is a mental disorder that is both curable and rare. Despite these proven facts, the statute as written, is treated as if it had some connection to true facts.
    Bigoted and racist authoritarians took control of US healthcare in 1914, restricting who was allowed to prescribe drugs, who was allowed to fill prescriptions, and where and how drugs could be used. Like the proverbial camel, Wilson let the politicians’ noses in the tent, and they barged in, hump, hoof, and tail, pulling down the tent and dragging it off with them, wherever they aimlessly roam.
    By positioning themselves to limit discussion of the substantive scientific facts of medicine, statists subverted not merely the free market in drugs and medical care, but subverted Democracy itself.
    Everything that’s said about healthcare, has potentially been falsified multiple times, by various layers of liars, each tricking the public for a specific wrongful purpose.
    Removing force from the discussion. Is of paramount importance. Any “expert opinion”, that our statutes view as true, based upon the granting of a political license saying the person’s opinions may be treated as fact, must be suspect. For it was upon the opinion of a Harvard professor of anthropology, that his theory of “Negro brain disorder” became the basis of a 102-year Drug War and a persistent belief that imprisonment is a useful treatment for addiction.

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