Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Report From 2016

Mona Charen  | October 1, 2013

Want a glimpse of what the Obamacare battle will look like in 2015? Just glance at liberal websites. You'll find a trove of insurance company bashing. Are insurance premiums rising instead of falling by the $2,500 per family that Obama repeatedly promised in 2009? They are. If you consult ThinkProgess, Daily Kos and Physicians for a National Health Program, you'll learn that it's the "greedy insurance companies" that are causing prices to rise, not the risibly titled, "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

You can take this to the bank: In the run-up to the next presidential election, Democrats will be in thorough blame-shifting mode. It wasn't the perverse incentives, byzantine complexity, new taxes and layers of bureaucracy built into Obamacare, they'll insist. It was heartless health insurers who were willing to let people die rather than accept a lower profit margin.

Obama has already shown the way. Stumping for Obamacare in 2010, he said, "(They'll) keep on doing this for as long as they can get away with it. This is no secret. They're telling their investors this –– 'We are in the money. We are going to keep on making big profits even though a lot of folks are going to be put under hardship.'"

That's just the way businessmen talk, isn't it? Only in the imaginings of the anti-business left. In any case, the other shoe to drop, after the demonization of the industry, will be the same solution Democrats propose for everything –– more government. Obamacare will be said to have failed because private companies put profits ahead of people. The "solution" will be single-payer.

Let's not weep for the health insurance companies. They could have energetically opposed Obamacare, and they chose not to. As Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner explained, it was in their interest to support a law that would 1) require everyone to purchase their product and 2) provide subsidies directly to insurance companies to help people pay for it. As Carney wrote: "Would you be surprised to hear of corn farmers supporting ethanol subsidies?" There were aspects of the law the insurance industry protested, but for the most part, they were content to be tamely transformed into a regulated public utility.

The health care system that predated Obamacare was already so distorted by government subsidies, regulations and tax incentives as to be quasi state-run. True reform would rip that government IV out of the nation's arm altogether and encourage more competition, not less. True reform would remove the tax deductions handed to employers 60 years ago and give them to individuals instead. True reform would permit individuals to shop nationwide for the best plan and would permit companies to offer truly catastrophic plans for the young and healthy. True reform would create high-risk pools to provide for those with chronic conditions.

As the examples of the insurance industry and the corn growers demonstrate, it's a mistake to rely on the business sector to promote free enterprise. Some businessmen do, but many are happy to engage in rent seeking from the state. Farmers, universities, banks, construction companies, green energy firms, car companies, the telecommunications industry ––- the list of supplicants for taxpayer subsidies is endless. Republicans are perceived (and often see themselves) as the pro-business party. They should think of themselves as pro-consumer instead.

Still, Republicans do understand the basics of supply and demand better than Democrats, and many predicted the problems Obamacare is already experiencing. They understood, as Obama and his supporters apparently did not, that the laws of economics are not optional. You cannot extend health care to 30 or 40 or 50 million people (the number kept changing) who previously lacked it and bring down total health spending simultaneously. You cannot force insurance companies to accept all customers regardless of preexisting conditions and expect that premiums will not rise to cover the expense. 

Further, once people realize that insurance companies cannot reject them when they become sick, the incentive to purchase health insurance among the healthy population disappears. (The small fine for failure to buy insurance will not compensate.) You cannot mandate that employers with more than 50 full-time employees provide government approved insurance without causing employers to shift to part-time employees or decline to hire. You cannot impose a "Cadillac tax" without employers raising premiums or reducing their coverage.

The Democrats' reform of the health care system is stumbling into a predictable and predicted morass. Democrats will inevitably conclude that this calls for even more government. Republicans should side with consumers.

[NOTE: To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at]


  1. So what does a "federal government shutdown" REALLY mean?
    The Military still works and social security checks will be on time. The Post office is still posting letters and the "intelligence" agencies will still be doing whatever it is that they do. They are going to close the parks and that's a shame but that seems to be the extent of it. They used to say "non essential" federal employees would be laid off but they use different terminology today because people were asking why they were hired in the first place if they aren't essential. Personally I think with the exceptions noted above the federal government should shut down for about four months every year and if it works well enough we can extend it to 6 months. Meanwhile the states can run the parks.

    Although the asshats on the left will tell you differently, It means that a few worthless federal employees will sit on their ass doing nothing at home, and draw a retroactive pay check; instead of sitting on their ass doing nothing at some bogus government agency.

    Its like trimming the fat, except the fat comes right back... Yup. These Fed workers could disappear and no one would miss em.
    AS for them getting payed?? They shouldn't get payed while furloughed. Who the hell pays people to sit home??
    Oh wait. I forgot. It’s the Govt and they use our tax dollars to pay people to sit home and do nothing or sit in some Govt office doing nothing. If you’ve ever been to a VA office like I have, then you’ve seen that nobody does anything and that nothing goes on there anyway but a bunch of idiots wasting your time because they don’t know what the hell they are doing anyway... Just like at the Post Office.
    Bottom line: It means the country is being held hostage by a radical group of deranged Leftist extremists led by that old fart Harry Ried who’d rather use extortion than see reason. And followed by another bunch of bullying socialist and special interest groups. And that's how Democrats passed Obamacare in the first place, didn't they!!

  2. The single greatest example of stupidity in America today is the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—a law that is increasing unemployment, forcing others into part-time, unemployment, and denying physicians the right to practice medicine while stripping patients of their privacy, and will ultimately deny care to some judged ineligible due to age or a previous condition

  3. This is just another Left Wing 3 step program targetting "single payer".

  4. What Thersites said. This is all part of the red progressive plan.

    They play chess, the GOOP, led by "Tears of a Clown" Boehner, play checkers.

  5. The shutdown will cost $30 million a day, brought to you by the fiscally conservative teapublicans!
    How soon you forgot how George Bush started two wars on the nation’s credit card and took a surplus from the Clinton administration and turned it into a mountain of debt. In addition, the great recession occurred under the Bush administration. Pres. Obama skillfully fought Republican obstructionism to get our economy back on the road to recovery – which includes jobs.
    Obama has done an excellent job and any Democrat will do just as good or better, but only if we rid the Congress of the GOP and Tea Party members. You people who love the GOP and Tea Party are either rich, too old to know better, or are a little touched in the head and don’t know the difference. You all need to get on the American band wagon and support our President no matter which party is represented. One other thing, try and forget that Obama is black; he is a true American.

    It's terribly obvious that these morons never made it passed the fifth grade if that. What a bunch of completely ignorant, uneducated, dumb-Asses the Right Wing-nut party is made of today.

  6. Obama has more balls than I thought. He has learned that you can't negotiate with the T Party Republicans so why bother trying.

    When I read these stupid comments written by these Teajerks, Iwet my pants with laughter.

    GO Shaw!

  7. You know George -- and the rest of you spewing venom -- insults and accusations never have and never will make an adequate substitute for reasoned argument.

    I'm allowing your comments to stand because they reveal the paucity of intellect and dearth of depth in the thinking of the opposition.

    I deplore equally the same, abysmal level of commentary that purports to support "my" side of the issues, and usually erase BOILERPLATE invective aimed at "liberals" -- or whatever your nom du jour happens to be at any given time.

    One of THE most irritating aspects of blogging is having presumptuous ideologues barge in to my site and try to tell the world what MY beliefs and purposes are.

    Assumption and presumption ought to be eliminated, because these ugly siblings offer no help whatsoever in the quest to improve the Human Condition.

    The bilge and raw sewage overflowing from intellectual cesspools and flooding these blogs is a heavy cross for decent folk to bear.

    I stay open only in hope that someone, some day will offer positive constructive suggestions to help combat the relentless barrage of mindless derogation.

  8. "The shutdown is costing American's $30 million a day"


    Only if the Republicans cave. If they don't and the shutdown last the year, it will save the American people over $1 trillion as:

    Discretionary spending in the FY 2014 budget was cut to $1.242 trillion.

  9. The "shutdown" cuts out the entire $1.24 trillion.

    The federal deficit is now... GONE!

  10. Oh, wait, the President has designated some of those "discretionary" expenditures as "essential", and so he is overspending from his "Mandatory" spending accounts.

    Maybe the President should designate the entire federal workforce as such and end the shutdown today! Oh, wait again, if he is overspending the "Mandatory" accounts, those will hit the Debt Ceiling and shut the entire Leviathan down...

  11. It is the availability of low cost health insurance that has driven up the cost of healthcare. Employers pay the premium and the employee pays a very small deductible to get treatment. There is no incentive to question a bill or not go to the ER for a cut. Insurance has taken the personal responsibility out of managing your healthcare decisions because people have very little incentive to cut costs.

    With obamacare this practice is spread to even more people leading to higher costs for everyone, except the totally government dependent generations who are entitled to not work and live off others.

    College costs are raising because of low cost student loans. Personal decisions are a thing of the past and we wonder why the government is out of control.

  12. RE: "The bilge and raw sewage overflowing from intellectual cesspools and flooding these blogs is a heavy cross for decent folk to bear." I absolutely agree, FT.
    (although 'intellectual' is a charity adjective for the cesspoolers)

  13. I have to agree, BB, but I was just told recently in no uncertain terms, that it was racist, exclusionary, un-American, anti-democratic, and fascistic not to permit morons, barbarians, criminals, and lunatics to have an equal say with the rest of us in determining the fate of society.

    Egalitarianism may be a laudable goal, but it CAN be carried too far in my never humble opinion.

    Idealism must be leavened with common sense, or don't you agree?

  14. I really and truly apologize, can I please be welcomed at your blog again... Pleeaaassssse.

  15. Free Thinke,

    A word to the wise. You are being played. The G.W. posting here is an impostor. See my blog to understand.



We welcome Conversation
But without Vituperation.
If your aim is Vilification ––
Other forms of Denigration ––
Unfounded Accusation --
Determined Obfuscation ––
Alienation with Self-Justification ––


Gratuitous Displays of Extraneous Knowledge Offered Not To Shed Light Or Enhance the Discussion, But For The Primary Purpose Of Giving An Impression Of Superiority are obnoxiously SELF-AGGRANDIZING, and therefore, Subject to Removal at the Discretion of the Censor-in-Residence.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.