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Skip to comments.Live Free ó and Uninsured (The Left canít see that there are losers under Obamacare)
Posted on 07/04/2012 6:50:04 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act ( Obamacare), NPRs Talk of the Nation held a seminar of sorts at the Aspen Institutes legendarily pretentious Ideas Festival. Someone in the audience asked NPR health-policy correspondent Julie Rovner this question: Todays decision is a positive decision for the estimated 50 million uninsured Americans. Who are the losers today?
Rovner seemed to struggle to find losers. She came up with insurance companies that want the so-called individual mandate now a punitive tax, according to the Supreme Court to be much more punitive. After thinking through her answer, she later added that another group of losers might be the citizens of states whose governors opt to not participate in the laws expansion of Medicaid.
So, Obamacare creates no losers except where it fails to tax people sufficiently and where GOP governors fail to accept the wisdom of the law. In short, the only thing wrong with Obamacare is that it isnt even more punitive, more mandatory, and more intrusive.
It is an interesting perspective given that this is arguably the most controversial law in our lifetimes. It nearly sparked a constitutional crisis, helped cause the Democrats to lose their majority in the House, and, despite herculean efforts by the president to sell the law (more than 50 speeches, formal statements, and national addresses on it during his first year), it has never been popular with most Americans. And yet, according to Rovner, the law creates only winners if properly implemented. Why on earth are its opponents so stupid?
For the record, there are losers under Obamacare. Heres a short list: (1) taxpayers who will carry the load of what the Congressional Budget Office says will be a $2 trillion price tag when the law is fully implemented; (2) the millions of workers the CBO says will be pushed off their current insurance coverage, even though the president insists you can keep your existing insurance if you like it; (3) innumerable and unknowable numbers of sick people who will not be screened for various diseases because some bureaucrats protocol says its too expensive; (4) Roman Catholic and other religious institutions forced to violate their values; (5) a few million so-called freeloaders who dont want to buy health insurance for perfectly rational reasons.
Obamacare defenders have responses to these objections, and critics have responses to those responses. Still: Serious people do believe that the law creates or just might create losers, a fact Rovner might have mentioned.
I dont mean to pick on Rovner. Her views on Obamacare dont strike me as exceptional so much as typical typical of a liberal Washington establishment that still seems incapable of grasping what the fuss is about.
Hence the Beltway fantasy that Obamacares unpopularity reflects nothing more than a sales problem. Indeed, the new mantra is that the Supreme Courts decision has provided the White House with a golden opportunity to sell a law that has been on the books for two years already.
Only a third of Americans fully supported the law when it was signed, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll, and today that number stands essentially unchanged. In fairness, a fifth of the laws opponents are left-wing voters who would prefer a single-payer system that doesnt involve incestuous collusion between government and big business. I dont support socialized medicine, but I can respect this sort of principled objection.
But why is the only legitimate opposition to the law that it creates losers in some actuarial or accounting sense? Even if I thought we could afford a vast new entitlement, Id still be opposed to Obamacare.
Whether its called a tax or a mandate, the federal government has never opted to compel citizens to purchase something as a condition of breathing while American. Obamacare represents a major advance for the old FDR vision of turning sovereign citizens into clients of the state. It empowers an army of Bloombergs to do what they think is for your own good and to redefine your rights as mere perks of the system.
I admit I have an old-fashioned conception of what our country is supposed to be about, which is why people like me are losers under Obamacare too.
Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of The Tyranny of Clichés
If you're too poor to afford insurance in the first place, how can you pay a tax for something you're too poor to own?
And what will happen to those people who do NOT pay the tax? The same thing that happens to illegals who wouldn't "register" under the amnesty bill proposed a couple of years ago?