Washington Is Rigged to Feed the Beast on ObamaCare

July 1st, 2017 1:40 PM

On the question of health care reform, as on every other public policy issue, the Washington establishment has rigged the game so that the only reasonable answer is more government power and control. More taxes, more regulations, more government spending, more deficits, and more national debt.

According to the Washington establishment, the free market, free enterprise, and private business and industry never work to advance social goals and the public interest. To the establishment, the private sector is just a den of greed, deception, and rip-offs. 

The twentieth century has established indisputably that it is government control, central economic planning, and socialism that always fail. We see that lesson from the old Soviet Union to China, which boomed once it was liberated from socialism and Communism; from dirt-poor East Germany to economically booming, prosperous West Germany; from economically lifeless North Korea to economically vibrant, thriving South Korea; and from Cuba, Venezuela, and everywhere else socialism and Communism were tried. Government control, socialism, and Communism were the roads not only to serfdom, but also to poverty and decline.

But according to the Washington establishment, just the opposite is true: If you want to serve the public good, the only answer is more power and control for Washington.

Consequently, the only way to save the uninsured from early, untimely death is government coercion via the individual mandate, forcing working people to buy expensive gold-plated health insurance the government has chosen for them. That is effectively a huge tax on the middle class and working people, increasing the cost of premiums beyond their reach.

Employers, too, must be forced via the employer mandate to buy the most expensive health insurance for their workers. That only increases the cost of employing someone, forcing many out of the labor market altogether.

Both mandates lead to more uninsured people, not fewer. Republican reform, by repealing those costly regulations, would deliver on the original promise of reducing premiums. Even the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) validates that. Millions of the uninsured would voluntarily sign up for health insurance as premiums declined.

The relentlessly establishment CBO, however, propagates the mistaken lessons of government power and control. That’s how the CBO decided the Republican health care reform bills would increase the number of uninsured by tens of millions of people. The media then repeated these CBO proclamations as holy writ that cannot be questioned by any reasonable person. Media deception is, of course, central to the rigging game.

Studies show that health outcomes for people covered by Medicaid are not any better than for the uninsured. That’s because the government doesn’t pay doctors and hospitals enough to ensure timely health care for the poor on Medicaid. Doctors and hospitals would go bankrupt providing health care for those on Medicaid. Health care providers cannot afford to buy the latest health-care technology to best serve the poor with what the government pays through Medicaid. 

But CBO counted everyone on Medicaid as “insured.” So reversing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansions to millions of Americans who are not poor increases the uninsured by millions more. That supported hysterical Democrat claims assailing Republicans as “the party of death,” and Republican reform as “blood money,” killing people so the rich can get another tax cut. This propaganda was as foolish as anything the Soviet communists used to spout during the Cold War.

The Washington establishment told us Medicaid was a compassionate program providing essential health care to the poor and most vulnerable. But in fact Medicaid was an institutionalized means of denying health care to the poor. 

Every year, thousands of Americans die on Medicaid because they cannot get timely essential health care from the program. What the Democrats say about Republican health reform, echoed as the media, is more true of the Democrats’ much-revered Medicaid.

This would be true as well of the Democrats’ revered, so-called single-payer health system—single-payer actually meaning “government health care monopoly.” Democrats and their media scribes never think to ask, where do you go for health care when the single payer won’t pay?

The Republican health care reform measures now languishing in Congress would reform Medicaid so that it better serves the poor. Control over Medicaid would be devolved to the states. Where that has been done before, as most recently in Indiana and Rhode Island, studies show the state reforms increase access to health care for the poor.

That is why the Republican reforms are better for the poor on Medicaid than the unthinking, unquestioning, Democrat status quo. It’s time to unrig the game so the establishment doesn’t always win.