Obamacare Is Dying, And The GOP Should Be Its Death Panel

Obamacare Is Dying, And The GOP Should Be Its Death Panel

After the election, the Republicans will have a chance to effectively finish off Obamacare. They should take it.
David Harsanyi
By

When The New York Times tells you Obamacare is “ailing” and must change to survive, rest assured that the law is in serious trouble.

Then again, people who read The New York Times might be under the impression the only way to fix a collapsing state-run program is to pass another, more intrusive state-run program — in this case, a “public option.”

In truth, it was probably something of a shock to most Times readers that the Affordable Care Act had struggled at all. For years, left-wing punditry has been churning our prodigious quantities of Obamacare fanfic, praising and hailing every ACA stumble as another unrealized measure of success. They made this denial loop possible by reframing Obamacare’s expectations and reimagining its purpose.

Here’s something worth remembering: If we evaluate Obamacare using the parameters Democrats themselves laid out when campaigning and passing the historically partisan reform, we have no choice but to view it as a debacle.

Of course, there’s the obvious instances of outright falsehoods: take Obama’s “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan.” Millions of Americans have been forced off their insurance plans, no matter how much they liked them.

The president also assured Americans that Obamacare would lower premiums for the typical family by $2,500. Instead, average premiums have gone up by more than $3,700. Colorado, for instance, expects health-insurance rates to jump 20 percent on average for individual buyers next year alone. All those explainers, skewed charts, and pretend projections were wrong.

Obama also pledged that once state marketplaces were “fully implemented” Americans would be able to buy insurance at the same “good rates” as “an employee at a big company can get right now — which means your premiums will go down.” They haven’t.  Not only have rates risen, but there has been an exodus of insurance providers, unable to compete even in these contrived and subsidized exchanges. Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a study that estimates 664 counties across the country will feature only a single insurer on Obamacare exchanges in 2017. In 2016, it was 215. Four states will have only one Obamacare insurer (update: add another one). Rather than create competition, this experiment has only strengthened in-state insurance cartels.

Obama promised that Obamacare wouldn’t add a penny to the deficit and would cost less than a trillion dollars (remember the ten years taxation for the eight years of ACA?). Meanwhile, Obama has spent billions of health-care dollars — without any congressional authority — to bail out his struggling program.

Perhaps the only real achievement Obama and his allies can dependably point to is the increase in insured Americans. When we consider government penalizes you for failing to buy insurance, it’s hardly a surprise. It’s tantamount to bragging about increasing military recruitment numbers after passing a draft. Although Democrats do seem perversely satisfied with idea of using state force as a marketing tool.

Obamacare was ostensibly about controlling greedy insurance companies (who wrote most the cronyistic bill in the first place) and “bending the cost curve.” In reality, Democrats have used Obamacare as a tool for social engineering and expanding the welfare state.  As Obamacare falls apart, Democrats now turn to the “public option” — a state-run program — because incrementalism is what they always do.

Here’s how the Times lays it out:

The departing president, the woman who seeks to replace him and nearly one-third of the Senate have endorsed a new government-sponsored health plan, the so-called public option, to give consumers an additional choice.

Well, as impressive as that sounds, it’s not really a new plan. Six years ago, before the Democratic Party had fully completed its hard-left turn, its moderates rejected the “public option.” One of the prevailing myths of the Obamacare battle was that the president had attempted to negotiate with the GOP in good faith. Every concession that was offered was meant to entice moderate Democrats to vote for the bill, because every last one of them was needed to pass it.

In this sycophantic interview with New York magazine, Obama argues that moderate Dems who supported his bill were being brave. Hardly. At the time, Red State Democrats were sold on the idea of Obamacare becoming popular once it passed. Yet, despite repeated assurances from politicians and pundits, Obamacare is still just as unpopular in polls. By passing a national reform without any buy-in from half the country, Democrats destroyed their majority and made it impossible to move any meaningful domestic legislation for the rest of Obama’s presidency.

Liberals like to mock Republicans for being obsessed with overturning Obamacare. Now that it’s useful, though, be prepared for lots of conversations about the future of the bill. About GOP obstructionism. About how conservatives hate sick women and children. Etc. But if Republicans capitulate and help “fix” Obamacare, either through another taxpayer-funded insurance bailout or a “public option,” they will become co-owners of a disaster.

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley introduced a Senate resolution for the “public option,” claiming it “is critical to bringing more competition and accountability to the insurance market.” Never in the history of mankind has a state-run entity in a private marketplace ever created more competitiveness or accountability. This is a debate conservatives should welcome. Because today we might be talking beauty queens and a billionaire’s 20-year-old tax return, but after the election, the GOP has a chance to effectively finish off Obamacare. They should take it.

David Harsanyi is a former Senior Editor at The Federalist. He is the author of First Freedom: A Ride Through America's Enduring History with the Gun. Follow him on Twitter.

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