Tom Purcell: Dog days of Obamacare
I’ve heard a lot of interesting stories of people trying, and failing, to sign up for Obamacare, but this one takes the cake.
As it goes, Smith’s existing plan was canceled because it failed to meet the requirements of Obamacare. After considerable effort, he was finally able to establish an Obamacare policy — but the government service representative accidentally assigned the policy to Baxter, Smith’s 14-year-old Yorkshire terrier.
I’ll bet that could lead to some interesting medical situations:
Smith: Doctor, I strained a tendon in my foot pretty badly.
Doctor: You were chasing the mailman?
Such is the law of unintended consequences when the government — to keep our dog analogy going — bites off way more than it can chew.
Doctors’ appointments will be the least of Smith’s problems, though. If the government assigned his insurance policy to his dog, what other information might it have gotten wrong? What happens when he needs to make use of his insurance policy?
Smith to Obamacare representative: I had cataract surgery, but my insurance company refuses to pay the claim!
Obamacare representative: I’m sorry, Baxter, but your policy doesn’t cover DOG cataracts.
Smith: My name isn’t Baxter and I am not a dog!
Obamacare representative: Then why are you barking at me?
Baxter will likely be upset with his new insurance policy, too. His premium will likely be double or triple what he was able to get before Obamacare.
He’ll bark when he realizes he has to carry maternity coverage — despite getting neutered in 1999.
He’ll growl when sees how high his deductibles will be — and that Smith’s middle-class income disqualifies him for government subsidies.
He’ll howl when he loses his biscuits — especially since President Obama promised him that if he liked his biscuits, he could keep his biscuits!
Where government bureaucracy is concerned, bureaucratic errors have a way of multiplying.
Will Smith endure a full IRS audit for taking interest deductions on a doghouse?
What happens when Smith retires and begins receiving Social Security — and the payments are to Baxter?
Baxter, already 98 in dog years, likely won’t be cashing checks for long. When he passes, will Smith spend the rest of his retirement trying to correct an error that originated with Obamacare?
Anyone who has ever dealt with government bureaucracy — anyone who has ever sat at the Department of Motor Vehicles, waiting to get a license photo taken — is aware of the limitations of government bureaucracy.
Sure, there are always going to be functions that we should rely on local, state and federal governments to do — but shouldn’t we limit these functions? Do we really want something as personal and important as our health care to be managed by government bureaucracies?
The many unintended consequences of Obamacare are rearing their ugly heads, causing many of the program’s most enthusiastic supporters to pause and ask, “Isn’t there a better way to help the uninsured without the government playing such a hands-on role?”
Well, Smith says that after some effort, he thinks he got his dog’s name removed from his policy. But with government bureaucracy being what it is, there are no guarantees his problem is solved.
He’ll know for sure if a high-ranking Obamacare bureaucrat makes this promise to him:
“If you want to keep your name on your insurance policy, you can keep your name on your policy!”
Tom Purcell is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.