A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 14 ruled that the tottering socialist health fiat known as Obamacare shorn of its individual mandate is unconstitutional. Though an appeal is inevitable, the ruling is on firm ground if common sense matters anymore in our federal government. Since Obamacare was deemed to be a tax in order to pass constitutional muster in the first place, removing the taxation part of a tax surely makes the law invalid on its face.
President Trump, who campaigned on a promise of scrapping the act, naturally welcomed the ruling, tweeting out that it was now up to Congress to pass a “strong law” to provide “GREAT healthcare.”
As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018
To which one can only ask: Why?
Former President Barack Obama’s “signature achievement” has been an unmitigated disaster, leading to skyrocketing health insurance costs for middle- and working-class Americans. It’s hard to see, then, how having two quintessential hack politicians like House leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) taking the reins, as Trump is suggesting, is going to work any better.
Feeding the Beast
Direct federal government involvement in health care is going over just as well as direct federal government involvement in college education. Actually, it’s much worse. Drastically boosting federal grants and loans to college students at the same time that the notion was drummed into American minds that earning a college degree is a life necessity unsurprisingly led to tuition rates that have ballooned to truly scandalous levels.
“One of the sureties of economics is that if you subsidise something, you get more of it. Similarly, if you tax something, you get less of it,” Tim Worstall, fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, wrote for Forbes in a 2015 article. Now think what Obamacare did. It did not tax Americans for purchasing a product. Instead, amazingly, it taxed them for NOT purchasing it. Phil Kerpen, vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, warned back in 2012 of the shocking precedent this set.
“Never before in history has the Congress attempted to force every American to purchase a product of their choosing,” Kerpen wrote. “In this case, it was because they cut a corrupt deal with the insurance companies in which the companies agreed to submit to onerous, expensive regulations in exchange for the government forcing everyone to buy their product – with hundreds of billions of tax dollars in subsidies thrown their way to sweeten the deal.”
Six years later the basic philosophical injustice that lies at the heart of Obamacare has still yet to be truly addressed.
Just as with that golden ticket of a college degree, universal health coverage is trumpeted as a sacred cow of American culture. How can one even begin to question the unstained purity of such a shining ideal? Well, some of us do. You may not agree, and I’m not asking you to agree, but what rights do we have as Americans to NOT have to be fully locked into a system that we see as corrupt and largely harmful to our health and that of our fellow citizens?
Not Buying It
Objections to mandatory health care so often seem to be presented solely on financial cost grounds. But millions of Americans have negative attitudes on differing aspects of the health care system. Popular alternative health sites regularly excoriate a good portion of it as nothing but a racket for Big Pharma to hook Americans on prescription drugs. News reports detail improper relations between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Many more examples can be cited, but you get the idea.
…that one bankrupting big-ticket health event.
The big fear of those who (like me) would love to morally opt out of our current health care system is that one bankrupting big-ticket health event. If you get hit by a bus or rupture your appendix, then, yes, you need coverage or your life’s savings are gone. Some form of universal catastrophic coverage would make sense here and be more in the true spirit of what health care insurance is meant to be.
Insurance is meant to reduce risk. A large pool pays in at a reasonably low price, and individuals are covered when some major unexpected event occurs. Insurance is not meant to cover planned expenses, such as doctor’s visits, giving birth, etc. When you pay for fire insurance, you’re not expecting a fire to happen. You’re preparing for the worst. This form of reasonable protection from unforeseen enormous health events would protect individual Americans from financial disaster without obliging them to pay for somebody else’s opioids and at the same time keep the general public from having to absorb high-cost treatment of uninsured Americans.
Even so, there’s no reason to believe the federal government can provide this service better than the private sector. The government does have a real role to play in regulating health insurance providers in the name of the public interest. Companies must not be allowed to defraud customers or fail to provide stated service. Obamacare has proven definitively, however, the folly of having the federal government regulating the buying habits of American consumers.
We don’t need that foul idea substituted for. We need it eradicated.