Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Liberals Should Hate Obamacare

Imagine, if you will, that you are a liberal, that your conscience tells you that no one should be denied medical treatment because they lack the ability to pay. Imagine that you examined the facts of the U.S. health care system in 2009, before the passage of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." Would you support its passage? Of course not.

I got thinking about this subject after discussing it with my niece's husband, who holds such beliefs. I decided that even liberals (as opposed to leftists) were sold a bill of goods regarding this execrable measure. The pressing social issue that Obamacare was supposed to solve was the problem of the uninsured. This problem set included subgroups of those who supposedly couldn't afford insurance and those who couldn't get coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But what were the facts? In 2009, it was widely quoted that 46 million Americans lacked health insurance. But this fact requires some explanation. First, almost 1o million of those were not actually American citizens. One might argue that we have a duty to also cover the non-citizens, but it doesn't change the fact that this part of the problem wasn't created in our country. Second, many of the uninsured have annual household incomes above $50,000 to the tune of close to 18 million (admittedly using 2007 data.) Many other of these people were actually eligible for government insurance programs such as Medicaid, almost 14 million. (See American Spectator for source material.) I'll let the reader do the math, but that means that the number of Americans who cannot afford health care is rather small compared to the total population. One could also remember that medicaid provides health care to the very poorest Americans and no emergency room may turn away a patient with an a life threatening condition.

So what could have been about the problem that remained. The U.S. population in 2009 was 305 million. That meant the vast majority of Americans had health care through their jobs, private funding or eligibility as a family member. If one were to attack the alleged problem of the uninsured then a program to subsidize those who were poor but not in poverty and a law to allow portability of health care when changing jobs to prevent pre-existing conditions from being a cause to deny care would have achieved those ends.

What did we get instead? So much more than we knew was in the bill. But consider this gem, despite Obama's promise that you would be able to keep your health care, we get this admission from Dr. Howard Dean.
Dean told Morning Joe, “The fact is it is very good for small business. There was a McKinsey study, which the Democrats don’t like, but I do, and I think its true. Most small businesses are not going to be in the health insurance business anymore after this thing goes into effect.”
This admission gives the lie to the promise that we could keep our current insurance. Further, it will blow a hole in the deficit reduction efforts. Why should liberals care? Because the increased burden on the federal budget will cause people to be denied care through queuing or other methods designed to limit access and therefore cost. The deficit math is compelling and no amount of increased taxation will totally close the federal deficit, so it is inevitable that increased participation in government funded health care will result in cost containment. If your goal was to increase health care insurance, your result was less of it.

Liberals have been sold a lie by the left. Obamacare is a Peronist take over of an industry disguised as compassion. The endless rules that only the Secretary of HHS can waive have led to a waive of cronyism regarding those waivers tied to campaign contributions and other forms of support for the administration (see Darden restaurants.) Further, why would liberals love a program in which the end result is an explicit transfer of the cost of doing business from corporations to the tax payer? How is that liberal? Or conservative, for that matter? I would ask my liberal friends to re-think their support of Obama and leftism. It does their cause no good and undermines their desire to provide a social safety net for all Americans.


  1. I'm not sure your argument would hold water with them since most of them don't see the deficit as anything other than an indication we need to tax the rich more.

  2. Kudos on differentiating the word 'liberal' from 'leftist' (I fall into the former camp). And for dredging up 'Peronist'

    But the leftists would have just expropriated the health insurance industry. The leftists do not think that subtly or insidiously. They have concrete goals that do not include what appears (to them) to be subsidizing what is viewed as a parasitic corporate health care bureaucracy.

    Ultimately, Obamacare was just a messy compromise between the liberals and imaginary republicans from another decade, and its bulk and regulatory reach was more the result of anything coming from the congressional sausage factory rather than leftists schemes

  3. was more the result ... congressional sausage factory.

    I never saw it as any kind of victory. I think it was Dean who early on said that Democrats should turn it down.

    Def: sausage something you should never look too closely at.