What if Costco Ran Healthcare?

As people have finally managed to penetrate the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is the federal health insurance exchange login screen, they are discovering the truth behind the absurd promises that ObamaCare would slow the rise of the oceans and lead to world peace. In fact, instead of making healthcare affordable for hard-working Americans, premiums, deductibles, copays, and fees are going up as fast as Obama’s approval ratings are going down. It didn’t have to be this way.



ObamaCare’s onslaught of new taxes and regulations is forcing employers to abandon the former HMO and PPO model which allowed most people to visit a doctor or even an emergency room with a minimal copay. Instead, the move to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) is starting to resemble a Costco membership. Can we call it Costcobamacare? You pay a fee up front (although at least Costco lets you see their membership fees before you sign up) for the privilege of shopping at their store, but the discounts only save you money on selected items and then only when you purchase massive quantities.

Case in point: in the age of ObamaCare, prescription drugs are now much cheaper if you purchase a 90-day supply. This is a good idea for things like toilet paper and dog food, but not so much for habit-forming painkillers or horse-strength laxatives. Another example: under ObamaCare, the move to HDHPs will stick you with a big bill if you need to visit a doctor for a minor condition like a weird rash or a stubborn cough. You only get full benefits if you hit your annual out-of-pocket maximum, which could be thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Perversely, ObamaCare only exacerbates the problem of unnecessary procedures that allow providers to run up the bill. Buying in bulk pays.

The resemblance to Costco ends there though. Whereas Costco actually does have lower prices than their competitors, ObamaCare manages to turn the Costco model on its head. Costco stresses simplicity and efficiency in their stores to minimize costs. As the customer, you have a limited set of options for a given product and they don’t waste time with arranging the merchandise or fancy packaging. ObamaCare on the other hand requires your insurance to cover a multitude of conditions that the recipients will never need—such as taxpayer-funded contraceptives, prenatal care, and free breast pumps for post-menopausal women.

While Costco just unloads pallets directly to the warehouse floor and lets customers do the heavy lifting, ObamaCare includes all kinds of mandates that interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Instead of letting the doctor and patient decide what care makes sense, the government now has panels of unelected “experts” to decide what care you should have and how much it should cost. Of course, as we are now seeing, whenever the government tells you how much something should cost, it’s a good bet it’ll end up costing you more in the end.

Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act of 1935 into Law

Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act of 1935 into Law

There is a silver lining that HDHPs do qualify you for a tax-deductible health savings account, but even then, if you have a two-income family that is already struggling to make ends meet, you probably don’t have the extra money to put in the account in the first place. As with any tax deduction, you have to spend the money up front to see any benefit later on. Worst of all, the drastically higher premiums and deductibles actually provide a perverse incentive to become poor so people can qualify for subsidies that will only end up driving up costs even more.

For all the shortcomings of Social Security and Medicare, they were at least honest in their aims to help the aged live in dignity without trying to engage in social engineering. When Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act of 1935 into law, it was a mere 32 pages. The program has needed modification over the years to respond to demographic changes—and will need to be changed again in our lifetimes if it is to remain effective, but it has survived for as long as it has precisely because of its Costco-like simplicity. As Christians we are commanded to heal the sick, but in its complexity ObamaCare completely and utterly fails to accomplish this important and worthy goal.


Categories:Health Care President Obama

3 thoughts on “What if Costco Ran Healthcare?

  1. PMP Czternastek says:


    I strongly agree that (one of) our duty(s) as Catholics is to heal the sick and while the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is far from a perfect law, it is at least an attempt to get the system under control and make more apparent the real costs of Health Care. If our mission was to heal some of the sick all of the time or all of the sick part of the time then we are succeeding, however if our goal is to take care of everyone as if they were equals i.e. the best possible healthcare all of the time for everyone (a pie in the sky goal for sure and unattainable, but one cannot enter an endeavor with an expectation of failure) I again say if our goal is to take care of everyone as if they are equals (as we are in the Lord’s eyes) we are failing and doing so terribly.

    If everyone made suggestions on how it could be a better law, or what a better law would be instead of how much they do not like it and how terrible it is and what they think the negative (and only the negative) consequences will be we would have a better law.

  2. Valerie Bauer says:

    I agree.

  3. mominvermont says:

    Plus the biggest difference in the Costco vs Obamacare models…you can decide NOT to buy a Costco membership and instead shop at local mom and pop stores. But if you decide not to buy from Obamacare, you get socked with fines. Costco is all carrots. Obamacare is all stick.

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