The Real Scoop on Obama Care

Steve Forbes Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media

Steve Forbes shares what he thinks is the real impact of Obama Care, as well as its impact going forward.

SPEAKER 1:  Thanks for joining us.  My guest today is Steve Forbes.  Hi Steve, and thanks for being with us.

STEVE:  Thank you.

SPEAKER 1:  Now you’ve written a lot recently about ObamaCare and no one seems to know what’s going on with ObamaCare.  I’ve made a lot of phone calls to different news organizations, health organizations, just trying to get some more information.  All I have heard is that it’s due to start enrollment in October and will actually start in January.  Now, since it’s the government I figure maybe that’s January of 2019.  [LAUGHTER]  What do you think?

STEVE:  I think you’re going to see a new nickname, ObamitableCare, and precisely because nobody knows what’s out there which is why they postponed these things, for a mandate 2015, caps on what you pay out-of-pocket, 2015.  They don’t have the lawful right to do it but, hey, why let the law get in the way?

SPEAKER 1: That’s right.

STEVE:  So you’re going to see more and more of that, so it’s going to get off to a pretty messy start.  We chatted earlier about how this is going to lead to higher premiums for a lot of people.  Some will see lower ones, but most of them will get a little shock, even more in the less freedom that they have.  We’re already seeing the impact on job creation.  Yes, jobs are being created; but most of them are temporary, part-time work because of the uncertainties and the mammoth increases coming from ObamaCare.  This thing is a real dampener on the economy, and I think democrats kind of wish they would have never done that thing.

SPEAKER 1:  Exactly.  Well, is there a latest estimate on how much we think it’s going to cost?

STEVE:  No, pick a number.

SPEAKER 1:  [LAUGHTER] And then increase it, right, by about 25%.

STEVE:  Nobody knows.  The idea you can project these things for six or 10 years down the road, impossible.  What is going to be ominous is not just dollars; it’s going to be the lack of choice in care and the uncertainty about access to care.  That’s one thing they used to say in the old Soviet Union, the food is free but you can’t get any.

SPEAKER 1:  That’s right; and you really wouldn’t want it if you got it, right?  Let’s turn this toward the investment angle.  Since we really don’t know what ObamaCare is really going to end up looking like, do you have any kind of conception of what industries within the healthcare sector might actually benefit from this?  Would that really happen, will anybody benefit?

STEVE:  Well the only ones who are going to get business and it’s going to be a poison chalice are the big hospital chains; but they’re going to find that this thing is very much of a double-edge sword.


STEVE:  I think, though, in terms of healthcare itself, the collapse of ObamaCare, they’re going to have to change it more and more.  It is going to set the stage for real free enterprise in ObamaCare, so medical device makers even though they’re getting slammed now are going to have a great future.  That’s going to be hugely important.

SPEAKER 1:  Yes.

STEVE:  You’re going to see real change in how we do things  in this country.  You’re going to see changes, too, in terms of consumer choice and having more choices of clinics and the like.  What looks like a hopeless liability is going to become a huge growth industry because healthcare is personal.

SPEAKER 1: It is personal; but how is that going to translate down to the individual.  I mean once this crisis of ObamaCare is over with.  Are people actually going to be able to afford insurance do you think? 

STEVE:  I think what you’re going to see is, for example, one of the things Republicans will pass when they get control of both houses is nationwide shopping for health insurance so you have hundreds of companies competing for your business.  That’s going to give you more choice, lower cost.  What you’re going to start to see through that and through other changes is that we get the kind of productivity in healthcare that we do in the rest of the economy.  You take a memory device, an iPhone and iPod costs about what, $25, $50; that kind of memory would cost you $10,000 a dozen years ago.  There are huge changes coming.  While we’re going to have a mess now – so try to stay healthy now ---

SPEAKER 1: [LAUGHTER] That’s right.

STEVE:  It’s going to mean more care at more affordable cost.

SPEAKER 1:  Wonderful.  Positive outcome in the long term.  Thanks, Steve. 

STEVE:  Thank you.

SPEAKER 1:  And thank you for joining us at the video network.

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