Friday, November 22, 2013

Obamacare to Death Panels

Holman W. Jenkins, in the Wall Street Journal has found the “essence” of Obamacare:
millions of people are being conscripted to buy overpriced insurance they would never choose for themselves in order to [pay for] the poor and those who are medically uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions.
That’s it.

James Oliphant, in the National Journal, explains how Obamacare’s key redistribution objective became law:
in July 2009—or any time while the program was being debated in Congress[--Obama] couldn't stand up before the American public and say that the only way to achieve the program's goals was to reallocate money within the health insurance market. That there would need to be a transfer of wealth—from the young to the old, from men to women, from the healthy to the sick. That to raise the floor, you had to lower the ceiling. To do so would have handed his enemies the kind of weaponry they craved, validation that Obama was indeed some sort of "socialist" who believed in "redistribution." It could have killed the effort in its tracks, then and there, making the tea-party eruption in town halls across the country in the month that followed look like a Kiwanis meeting.
So he lied. Oliphant, like Jenkins, is crystal clear that under Obamacare:
there are winners and there are losers. And there were always going to be. That fact, even more than the star-crossed rollout, may be the more enduring political threat to Obamacare.
Stan Veuger, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, offers Democrats some unwelcome, gratuitous “Monday morning quarterbacking” advice:
In retrospect, president Obama probably should have accepted House Republicans’ reasonable, and, seen in the light of recent developments, generous offer to raise the debt limit and fund the government in exchange for a delay in the individual mandate. The federal government would have remained open for all of October, and many an inconvenient political problem would have been avoided.
Be serious. Obama in early October wasn’t going to compromise, as they say, “period.” He and his political operatives were salivating over the political victory at hand, quietly encouraging the Republicans’ suicide mission to shut down the government over Obamacare funding, a crazy GOP plan that would end with Democratic control of the House in 2014. So, next, all of us watched in shock as Obama the inattentive president so publicly brought down Obama the skilled politician.

Oliphant seems pessimistic that Obama’s healthcare scheme will work out, even if the president turns the political battle around:
Obamacare [is] either a finely tuned machine whose parts have to work in an almost orchestral fashion for it to produce the wellspring of results that have been promised, or an infernal, jury-rigged contraption that could collapse from the smallest series of stresses.
One sign of the depths of despair to which the Obamacare rollout has taken progressives comes from the New York Times’ Thomas Edsall, who Tuesday wrote:
The chaos surrounding efforts to activate reinforces a key conservative meme: that whatever the test is, government will fail it. Insofar as voters experience their interaction with government as frustrating and unreliable, the brunt of political damage will hit Democrats, both as the party of government and as the party of Obamacare.
In that same vein, that Obamacare may be ruining Democrats’ future, Jonathan Tobin writes in the conservative journal Commentary:
the belief that sooner or later the general public would regard Obamacare as untouchable once it went into effect was misplaced. Unlike other expansions of government benefits such as Social Security and Medicare that were paid for by future taxpayers, the Obamacare losers are made up of the middle class of the present.
Again, Obamacare is not just politics, it’s on a larger mission. A mission, according to Jenkins, headed down a dark path. Jenkins addresses progressives with the following words:
The government-run systems you so admire in other countries mostly came about long ago. They came about to expand access to medical care at a time when medical care couldn't do all that much for people. We live in a different age. America, let's face it, would be embarking on a single-payer system not to expand access—though that slogan would be used—but to deny and limit care in order to control runaway spending. [emphasis added]
Death panels.  It’s possible that in the end, Democrats as well as Republicans will welcome Obamacare’s demise.

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