Let’s Get One Thing Perfectly Clear…
posted at 10:30 pm on February 9, 2012 by Dafydd ab Hugh
The recent order by President Barack H. Obama (and Kathleen Sebelius at the Department of Health and Human Services) — that every employer must offer health insurance that fully covers birth control, sterilizations, and morning-after abortion pills, regardless of any religious objection employers, including faith-based employers that are not actually churches, might harbor to those procedures — is not an “unintended consequence” of ObamaCare. Its architects are not that stupid.
Rather, that was one of the very reasons for enacting ObamaCare in the first place.
As many of us said back in 2009, the purpose of ObamaCare was never to give health insurance to needy people who couldn’t afford it. First, that category was nearly empty:
The deserving poor were already covered by Medicaid; and if necessary, its qualification threshold could have been temporarily lowered to allow more people to benefit — say, by expanding availability to those who had recently lost their jobs (hence health insurance) but were not yet living below the Medicaid poverty line.
The biggest chunk of those who did not have health insurance comprised the rich (who prefer to pay for their health care as necessary, rather than buy insurance), and the young, healthy, and shortsighted, who can afford health care but choose instead to gamble that they won’t get so sick or injured that they need expensive treatment. Making such a choice, even if it turns out to be a big mistake, is part of individual liberty. The proper “solution” is to allow us that liberty, then hold individuals accountable for their own decisions; actions have consequences. (Innocents swept up in those bad decisions, such as children, can be helped separately.)
Finally, a small percentage of the uninsured could have afforded a cheaper, stripped-down policy, but cannot afford the “Cadillac” health-care plans whose costs are driven up by government mandates and regulations.
For those unfortunates, the easiest fix — which would have benefitted everyone else as well — was to eliminate all the government meddling the caused the problem in the first place: Requiring health insurance by law to cover a littany of specialized services; policies that make it difficult for insurance companies to offer greater variety in policies, such as a medical savings account coupled with catastrophic care (which encourage more parsimony among patients, as they must pay to refill their MSA if depleted); regulations prohibiting insurance companies from offering policies cross-state and cross-border; overly plaintiff-friendly (and especially lawyer-friendly) medical malpractice laws; and so forth.
Real problems, such as people with pre-existing conditions (the faux “casus belli” for the war against private insurance), could have been handled the same way bad drivers are handled for automobile insurance: Create an “assigned risk” pool among health insurers to spread the cost; allow a reasonable increase in rates for those with such conditions, and have a reasonably short waiting period (e.g., six months) before full coverage occurs; and allow for temporary government assistance for those who truly cannot wait and incur unpayable costs. (This isn’t laissez-faire Capitalism, of course; but it’s a reasonable and inexpensive compromise between liberty and safety net.)
Such reforms would have cost a fraction of the trillion dollars that ObamaCare expropriated from the private sector. In fact, once the lifting of government mandates and the squelching of “jackpot justice” malpractice suits lowered actual health-care costs, insurance reform might have wound up cheaper than the original system it replaced. And in any event, it would have been a move towards greater freedom of choice for employers and individuals.
But the Obamunists had precisely the opposite purpose from the beginning; rather than freedom, their ultimate goal was to put more Americans than ever before under the iron boot-heel of the government. Never was it about health insurance for the poor and uninsured; it was always about the federal government seizing control not only of the health care of individuals but also nationalizing those state and local health programs already in place. ObamaCare was, first and last, a power grab by the federal government at the expense of states, local governments, and individual Americans.
So please, let’s not imitate Captain Renault in Casablanca — shocked, shocked to discover that Barack Obama has violated our First-Amendment right to freedom of religion! In fact, that specific mandate was at the heart of ObamaCare tyranny: a frontal assault on the Catholic church in particular, which is so virulently hated by the gay-activist and feminist wings of the Left.
The only element of this policy that should shock anyone is the unbelievably hamfisted way that Obama decreed it: A politically savvy politician would have patiently held off until after the election, giving himself two years to allow the furor to die down.
Instead, the president once again mistook unanimity among his left-liberal friends for a Progressivist “consensus” among the American people; he lives in a bubble of epistemic closure, talking only to true-blue believers on the left. I formerly gave him the nickname “Lucky Lefty,” because (a) he is left handed, (b) he is left-leaning, and (c) he was extraordinarily lucky. Well he’s still (a) and (b), but not so much (c) anymore, so I can no longer call him that.
Obama’s new nickname is “Bubble Boy,” honoring his world view.
But what’s done is done and cannot be undone; Obama has ripped off the mask, and he can’t put it back into the bottle. We now see ObamaCare in all its naked savagery and unAmericanism. Thank goodness for Obamunist “dumbth!”
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…