Obama’s Offer of a Free Lunch Comes with Unexpected Costs
You are invited to lunch by a host offering to treat you to a brand new restaurant that he strongly recommends. You are not really interested, but he insists and he promises the kitchen will cook whatever you are used to. Once there though, the wait staff never materializes. When you finally can order, there is nothing on the very limited menu that you really want. However by now you are really hungry, so you order.
When your dish finally comes, it is tasteless because it is both fat and sodium-free for your own protection. (And after all, this new restaurant knows better than you what is best for you.) When you ask your host why the food is so terrible and the service is so bad, he tells you he was never told the staff was so unqualified. Nevertheless he is absolutely confident that the restaurant can have an adequate staff in place by the end of the month.
Then the bill comes. In turns out you your host expects you to pay, and pay not only for yourself, but for all the other hungry people in the restaurant as well.
You have found a host and a restaurant that you never, ever want to have a meal with again. And you have also rediscovered that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Welcome to Obamacare. (Or the “Affordable Care Act,” as Democrats now insist on calling it in order to avoid negative associations between it and the President’s sagging approval numbers.)
Interestingly the President could have avoided his current deteriorating position if, even as recently as a little over a month ago, he had tried opening negotiations on healthcare with congressional Republicans. Instead, he choose to ignore the numerous internal warnings of the impending disaster and pressed ahead into the impending iceberg. Had he ever reached out in a bipartisan way to address the flaws in the law, Republicans would have paid a political price if they had been unwilling to at least try to work with him. The call to fix or delay Obamacare simply never came.
Over the next year President Obama care will try mightily to shift the blame to insurance companies. These companies were simply following their Obamacare law and regulations. Most Americans see through the President’s evasions and place responsibility squarely where it really belongs.
Trying to interpret a President’s motives can be dangerous, especially for a partisan. Many Republicans ascribe the worse motives to him, suggesting that undermining the private health insurance market is intended as an interim step toward a single payer system.
Perhaps, but I think the President has been so deeply ideologically committed to the new law that he choose ignore all evidence that suggested it faced problems. Scary but true, he really believed that it would work simply because he wanted it to.
Ten years ago, Colin Powell is credited with postulating the “Pottery Barn Rule.” “You break it, you own it.” The President and Democrats in Congress are now faced with the application of the rule to the health insurance market. They broke it, so now they own it.
In Maryland, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown is facing similar issues. Brown is chair of Health Care Reform Coordinating Council, responsible for overseeing the state’s Obamacare implementation. However under Brown’s watch, Maryland has struggled. The Washington Post reports, even as over 73,000 families have lost coverage, just 1,278 people signed up for private coverage in the state during October and another 465 in the first week of November. Not just Republicans, but Attorney General Doug Gansler’s campaign as well, are all questioning Brown’s leadership on the issue. After Brown has screwed up his single management responsibility Lt. Governor, would you really want to make him the state’s chief executive officer? Should he be responsible for education or criminal justice too? Brown has done his cause little good by being caught on camera claiming that “Cancellations are really renewal notices.”
Republicans offer free market health care reforms which emphasize patient control and increased transparency about choices. These include allowing health insurance plans to be sold across state lines and bypassing individual state mandates that increase costs. Obamacare proceeds with a largely discredited “command and control” model relying on centralized decision making. A conservative approach to the health care uses market forces to improve care and reduces costs. 2014 and 2016 cannot come soon enough.