Once Again, Government Displaces Real Aid

The history of the growth of government is riddled with government programs driving out well-functioning arrangements for the private provision of assistance and social services, including welfare, healthcare and hospital services, unemployment assistance, disaster relief and more.

So it should come as no surprise that now Obamacare is doing the same. As reported in the New York Times story, Hospitals Look to Health Law, Cutting Charity:

Hospital systems around the country have started scaling back financial assistance for lower- and middle-income people without health insurance, hoping to push them into signing up for coverage through the new online marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.

As with previous examples of flawed public policy driving out well-functioning charity and mutual aid, unintended consequences will hurt those the policy was purportedly established to help:

The trend is troubling to advocates for the uninsured, who say raising fees will inevitably cause some to skip care rather than buy insurance that they consider unaffordable.

Let’s hope that the chart above showing how the decline in poverty flatlined once the feds declared “war” on it isn’t predictive of what will soon happen to healthcare for the poor. Unfortunately, recent news out of the V.A. isn’t encouraging.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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