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Yes, Democrats, Please Stand By Obamacare

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There are so many fundamental problems with the Affordable Care Act, that I’ve long believed it is not designed to actually improve the insurance system in America, but to irreparably break it in order to usher in more direct government control of health care.

That said, despite apologists claims to the contrary, most critics fully understand that the government’s Pacman-era website is not the ACA. The rollout of the Healthcare.gov website is another piece of evidence that government is virtually incompetent.

And this is the real threat to progressives and statists.

 

GovCo knows best

If government fails to deliver on the ACA, how can it argue for more intervention in other areas? Once the American public begins doubting government’s abilities, the statist agenda crumbles.

This is why progressives are urging their rank-and-file supporters to hold the line and not abandon their big government solution to health care.

Democrats need to take a deep breath, steel themselves and stay on message. This program is not about a web site. It’s about providing health care to virtually everyone and controlling costs that have been spiraling out of control. It’s a message Democrats pushed throughout the first decade of this century with overwhelming support. It’s also a message Republicans ignored when they had the power to do something about it.

Hmm… perhaps Thomas Mills forgot that the GOP never had super-majorities in the Senate and House while also occupying the White House. Legislation would’ve been a lot easier for the GOP if they had.  But I somehow doubt that Mr. Mills would be celebrating health care reform from the Republicans, had they rammed it through the way the Democrats did.

Also, in his PoliticsNC blog post, Mr. Mills advances the big lie about the ACA – which is that health INSURANCE is the same thing as health CARE.

It is not.

If access to health CARE was the true goal of the Affordable Care Act, it could have been done far cheaper and with much less disruption to the insurance markets.

If you doubt this, look at the reaction from Democrats over the cancellations and massive cost increases being seen in the private insurance markets now. The response has been, “Well, these current policies getting canceled are substandard. Plus, they’re only about 5% of the total insurance marketplace.”

The people buying these policies were getting care, despite their “junk plans.” The ACA now forces them to get more COVERAGE, even though they’ll never use it for CARE (think of the 58 year old single gay man mandated to carry maternity coverage).

 

 

The politics of failure

In his pep-talk to Democrats, Mr. Mills urges them to stand by the ACA – no matter what – and all will be well.

Democrats’ only option is to make the program work–and it is workable. They’re fools if they think they can run from it now and supporting legislation that will hurt the program will only hurt them. If the program fails, Democrats across the board will get the blame and no amount of maneuvering will change that. So they need to fight to make it work, not appease the small but vocal group of people who are paying more.

 

I agree with Mr. Mills that Democrats should own this. The GOP should not attempt to help them avoid sole culpability. If he’s right, let them bask in the electoral glory of having provided affordable care for everyone. I doubt this will happen.

We could even have a bet – if the ACA is a failure, the left abandons its statist agenda and allows the right to enact free market reforms.  Deal?

Mr. Mills goes on to offer some free political messaging advice:

So, Democrats, here’s your message: We want to control the cost of health care and provide affordable care to all Americans while Republicans have failed to offer any solutions to our broken health care system and are now trying to sabotage reform, not fix it.

Well, this is actually not groundbreaking advice at all. (Sorry about that, Democrats.)

This is the same talking point advanced by Democrats at the national level for several weeks already. Could this be a sign that there really isn’t any other argument to make? Or is it a sign that Mr. Mills didn’t get the memo?

I’m not sure.

But, like most things told to us about the ACA, this is also a lie. There have been many GOP alternatives discussed – for decades.

Among other ideas, the right has proposed ‘portability,’ tort reform, vouchers, high-risk pools, and equalizing pre-tax treatment of premiums. These reforms are designed to make the market as free as possible, which induces lower prices and, in turn, improves access. This, essentially, rations the service by cost. People are free to choose how to spend their money.

The left believes the way to improve access is to mandate it. The ACA is creating an insurance system that is, essentially, a public utility – controlled and regulated through the state.

And this is why there is fear among Democrats, because if this grand liberal experiment fails quickly, it will undermine their entire economic and governance philosophy.

But if it takes decades to fail, I suspect the push will be for a single-payer system – which is the dream of all progressives. And this is why I’ve long believed that the ACAis not designed to improve the insurance market in the USA, but to so break it that it allows the left to achieve their real aim.

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Pete Kaliner hosts the 3-6 p.m. drive-time slot on Asheville’s WWNC Radio. Visit his blog and listen live.

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