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About Tony Rubolotta
Tony Rubolotta works in the technology industry.
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Tony Rubolotta

Valuation of Biological Units
November 23, 2009

ObamaCare, regardless of its final version, is a framework for a bureaucracy like most laws passed by Congress. Regulators will write all of the rules, procedures, guidelines and details in accordance with the requirements of the enabling law. Congress will later vote to accept or reject those regulations. A Congress that can’t be bothered to read a 1,000+ or 2,000+ page bill they propose to make law is not likely to read the 10,000 to 30,000 pages of regulations, forms, diagrams and interpretive guides they will vote to make law.

Those regulations will expand in subsequent versions as the regulators find and close loopholes, assume broader powers and attempt to meet budgetary restraints. Almost immediately, the regulations will be beyond the ability of most citizens to understand or read because of the sheer volume, incessant cross-references, invented language and legal language. Those regulations will become the province of lobbyists focused on specific aspects related to the special interests they represent. Public hearings on proposed regulations may be open to the public but public attendance, unless you have an extraordinary amount of free time and are willing to be humiliated by smarter than you regulators, will be a sham. Note that such public hearings will not entertain any suggestion the law is a failure no matter how badly it has failed. The operating premise is that no matter how bad the law is in principle, it can be "fixed” by the regulators.

Like all such legislation passed to create the alphabet soup agencies, only those entities with large resources of money and people will have the time for analysis and input. Those interests consists mostly of big business, big labor and advocates of big government. Their objective is to carve as much money from the regulations as the budget will permit and to gain an advantage over competing interests. Their objectives will be disguised and cloaked with buzzwords like "options”, "choices”, "quality”, "efficiency” and "compassion” in order to market their proposals.

A necessary part of any program that interferes with or eliminates free market controls are artificial controls, specifically rationing, and most likely followed by wage and price controls. Rationing must be written into the regulations to provide regulators with rules and guidelines because funding is not unlimited. Those regulators charged with enforcing the rationing rules are appropriately called "death panels” because that is what they will decide, who will get care and who will not. Rationing priorities must be established and at least assume some semblance of reason. Cost and benefit analysis is the model suggested, but rest assured politics will be the overriding criteria.

Cost and benefit analysis is entirely fitting with the leftists view that people are biological units endowed with certain abilities and needs that constitute the benefits and costs to the state. The higher the ratio of benefit to cost compared to the cost of care, the higher the priority in the rationing order. Age, talents, general health and numerous other factors will go into this formula, that is until the formula yields politically inconvenient results. Voter demographics and political correctness will determine the appropriate "fudge factors”.

At the very bottom of the list will be any unborn children with any kind of defect the state views as a long term liability. If the regulators see a voter demographic that will permit abortion in certain cases, that will be the only choice offered the mother when it comes to health care. The regulators are not concerned with morality but with a budget and what is politically possible. The budget the regulators are looking at is not just immediate costs, but long term costs as well. All the marvels of creative government accounting and data processing will be applied to determine eligibility for survival.

As for funding voluntary abortions, that will come too, not through regulation but through judicial fiat. The court will reason that if abortion is a legal right, then government programs cannot withhold the means of exercising that right, or distinguishing it from any other right granted under the purview of health care. If you are entitled to a boob-job for self-esteem, you are entitled to an abortion for the same reason. That is all it will take to torpedo any anti-abortion provisions of the law.

How rationing will affect each of us individually is not difficult to predict based in part on simple logic and in part on political correctness. Where do you fit? Being an old white guy of European descent and Christian belief, I know I have to be very near the bottom though I may be partially redeemed by my productivity. It really depends on whether or not my abilities exceed my needs and how that squares with more politically correct applicants.

We may fool ourselves into believing rationing can be eliminated if we simply increase the health care budget, but that can only happen if we increase our overall wealth or reallocate our government spending priorities or both. Our debt is increasing and will continue to increase, so it becomes a matter of how much more we can borrow from other nations before they cancel our credit card. The fact is we are not producing wealth but destroying it. Our government spending priorities can be changed, but that will depend on political feasibility. We could eliminate our military and be healthy but defenseless. Some on the left would welcome that. We can shuffle money from one program to another, but that is entirely a political calculation.

A nanny state populated by so many children with a shortage of producing adults may have the best intentions but will never have the means. The biological units must be content with what gifts mommy can produce, borrow or steal, and that pool of resources is drying up.

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