The eleventh hour pitch from Democrats out to defend Obamacare is that we should be fair and give it a try before we pass judgment. One Democrat criticized Senator Cruz from Texas for missing the moral of Green Eggs and Ham, the book Cruz read to his children from the Senate floor during his nonfilibuster-filibuster. Apparently, Dr. Seuss was trying to teach children not to judge things before you try them. When Dr. Seuss is used to legitimize trillion-dollar legislation, you know you’re in trouble.
There are three reasons why Democrats and President Obama are pushing the “try it, you’ll like it” approach.
First, they know that any delay in the implementation of the program hurts its long term chances. Aside from the delays that the President has already granted to help get this behemoth off the ground, Democrats know that momentum is building against the program. As the exchanges come online, it’s been possible for news agencies and analysts to compare Obamacare rates with open market rates. And guess what? The Obamacare rates don’t look so good. Turns out that for a whole lot of people, rates are going up, and choices are going down. The whole premise that Obamacare would make things “more affordable and more accessible” is in jeopardy as the facts get out. Already we’ve seen stories of skyrocketing premiums, massive computer glitches, and bizarre exemptions such as not requiring people to document their income during the first year in order to determine their subsidies. We’re also starting to learn that while premiums may be reduced for low-income recipients who get federal subsidies, the deductibles will remain fairly large. That’s what makes the premiums so low. Stories of poor people learning they have to fork over thousands of dollars to meet their deductible before the insurance kicks in isn’t something Democrats want on the news. Supporters of the program know that the longer they wait, the more stories of Obamacare Gone Wild will make headlines and public support will wane.
Second, any politico knows that once you implement a federal program that gives people stuff, its extremely difficult to remove that program without looking like a cold-hearted curmudgeon. Imagine the politician who steps forward a year from now suggesting that Obamacare be repealed because it’s not working. The Democrats will bring forth the parade of usual victims and ask what sort of callous, uncaring, soulless person can deny old women, children, and the poor access to healthcare? When President Obama can bring forth somebody “saved” by the program, it becomes an uphill battle to repeal it no matter what the financial cost to the nation. I can hear him now: “And here today is Karen Smith. A single, hardworking school teacher and mother of three. She was dyin’ of cancer. But because you [meaning the audience of college students he'll be speaking to] were brave enough to pass the Affordable Care Act, Karen is doin’ fine now. Teachin’ better than ever. We can’t let Karen down.” As the Romans learned, once you open the grain bins, there’s no closing them down.
Third, supporters of Obamacare want it passed now because they’re not really concerned about the financial impact of the program. The stories about increasing costs and loss of medical options don’t bother Democrats because the primary objective of the program isn’t medical assistance, it’s redistribution of wealth. The increase in premiums we’re hearing about fall primarily on people who already have insurance, either through their employer or on the private market. The poor who don’t currently have insurance may see lower premiums than they would normally pay in the open market because their premiums will be subsidized by the increase in payments made by everybody else. Obamacare forces some people to pay more into the collective pot to diffuse the cost of bringing in people who can pay very little. Liberals see the program for what it is – a way to redistribute the costs of medical care. Chief Justice Roberts was right. As enacted, the individual mandate is basically just a tax.
The gimmick here is that Obamacare isn’t designed to cover all Americans. About 15% of the population doesn’t have insurance, so this is a massive undertaking to provide something that 85% of the population already has. Yes, 15% is a hefty population of about 45 million people, but the government’s own data indicate that a good 6 or 7 million will never get covered because they’ll slip through the cracks or refuse to pay. I’m not sure that really matters. Redistributive programs are never really about helping the people as much as they are about helping the politicians. And while Democrats will argue the beneficiaries of this program are primarily low-income people in jobs that do not provide insurance, statistics also show that these people live primarily in California, Texas, and Florida.
Something smells rotten here, and it’s not the green eggs and ham.