Freakonomics Idea

Obamacare will cause people to take better care of themselves, which will lead to a healthier America according to Stephen Dubner, the co-author of Super Freakonomics. Obamacare will ultimately benefit the populace because people are basically animals. When the environment around them changes, people change to meet the new circumstances.

Most Americans have health insurance. The people who earn insurance by virtue of having a job or paying premiums themselves are rewarded with small co-pays for doctor visits and often, low deductibles for major treatments. These folks or their employer pay a certain amount each year to an insurance company. In return, the person gets what seems to be “free” health care in the finest medical institutions in the world.

Knowing that unlimited care is always available, it is very easy to softly abuse oneself with alcohol, tobacco, drugs, overeating, lack of exercise, and any number of bad habits that lead to ill health. This brings to mind the old joke about having to weigh at least 300 pounds to trigger the Wal-Mart automatic door. Those shoppers subconsciously realize that if they fold a knee joint, develop diabetes, or cough up a lung, all they have to do is show up and be cured. What motivation do they have to take good care of themselves – none!

Patience please – the real door-trigger folks show up in the second half!

Enter Obamacare: About 30 million new participants will now be insured by fiat – many at taxpayer expense. They will also act like medical treatment is free and just a phone call away. More medical services will be used nationwide. This aspect will strain the capacity of our present system. Meanwhile the devil’s brew of government domination over private insurance will try to control costs by increasing paperwork and paying doctors less to perform more procedures. Two studies ** have shown that doctors under such pressure will begin to retire early or switch to other careers. More patients with more ailments visiting fewer doctors will lead to shortages and waits. Whether dictated by government or by necessity, the result will be rationing of care of some sort.

Here is where the behavioral adjustment will come in. Rational people will realize that medical care – free or not – is not what it used to be. Waiting periods for treatments will lengthen. Replacement physicians will be imported from abroad on H1-B visas and certified after minimal American internships. The quality of care and hospital conditions will in all likelihood deteriorate, leading to eventual government takeovers. The result will be that many Americans will want to avoid serious medical treatment at all costs knowing it could lead to a potentially less than perfect outcome. The idea of trusting oneself to a hospital run by the Postal Workers Union will cause many to do everything in their power to avoid such a necessity.

Wal-Mart shoppers will bypass the supersize doughnuts and purchase salads instead. Gym business will increase along with exercise equipment sales. Health food securities will soar while fast food stocks tank. Jogging shoes will fly off the shelves. Alcohol sales will suffer, and smoking will decline. Sports on the big screen will become touch football games in the great outdoors. Nutri-System and Jenny Craig will triple in size and sales.

The journey to a healthier America may have begun. It won’t happen the way our President envisioned.


The Medicus Firm is a respected physician search and retainment company with offices in Dallas and Atlanta.

Investor’s Business Daily conducted a similar poll in August, 2009 with 1376 responses and came to almost identical conclusions. The report was panned in the press at the time. The Medicus poll confirms the IBD results.


One response to this post.

  1. Thanks for checking in. Don’t miss the current post.

    Thanks, OIJ


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