Saturday, March 11, 2017

GOP ObamaCare Repeal: The Left Opposes Cuts in Spending and Controls—What’s New?

In knee-jerk fashion, the Left came out in force against the Trump Republicans’ ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill dubbed “American Health Care Act.” In Will Jersey's GOP throw millions off health care?, the New Jersey Star-Ledger railed against cuts in subsidies to the middle class, hospitals, and other groups, cuts in Medicaid, redistribution of wealth from the young to the old, etc., etc., etc. The Star-Ledger also rails, rightfully, I think, against NJ’s GOP congressman's hesitancy about confronting pro-ObamaCare, anti-Trump activists at town hall meetings and other public forums.

I left these comments, citing this quote as an opening:

“This bill shrinks the subsidies for middle-class families, and phases out the Medicaid expansion . . .”

The socialist statists on the Left will always oppose cuts in spending, subsidies, taxes, and controls, no matter how small. And they have never met an expanded spending scheme, new regulation, or tax hike they couldn’t love. They’re after power, and power derives from dependence on government redistributive handouts. Hell has no fury like a government dependent threatened with loss of his subsidy, whether a hospital corporation or a low-income individual.

The larger question is, how did we get to the point where even the middle class can’t afford  something so basic as health insurance? Decades of government controls and interference, that’s how. Any suggestion of legalizing affordable healthcare by rolling back these controls threatens the Left’s insatiable lust for power. So, they oppose it at every turn.

Take the alleged “big tax cut for the richest among us,” which the Star-Ledger erroneously labels a “subsidy.” The real facts are these: First, a tax cut is not a subsidy. Keeping more of what one earns is the opposite of getting a payment from the government. Second, it’s a “tax cut for the rich” because it was a tax increase on the rich to begin with.The tax cut would simply return to the pre-ObamaCare tax level. The ObamaCare tax hike was redistributive, and thus immoral, from the start. Lowering subsidies and the taxes that fund it; what could be more American than that?

Of course, that shouldn’t be done in a vacuum, which leads to initiatives like expanded tax free health savings accounts. HSAs enable anyone with employer health insurance to take control of the money the employer otherwise would have spent on the employee’s behalf, buy health insurance that suits her individual needs, and make it portable like car, life, and homeowners insurance so the loss of a job doesn’t result in loss of health insurance. HSAs foster independence, self-reliance, and—coupled with elimination of benefit mandates and other de-controls—lower cost policies. The Left hates free market ideas like HSAs and de-control because it conflicts with their power-hungry drive to subvert the middle class into a welfare class.

The fact is, this bill doesn’t go nearly far enough in free market reforms. It preserves the pre-existing conditions mandate, a big part of the problem of cost, without fixing the government policies that make it a big problem. It preserves the immoral practice of forcing the young to subsidize the old through government-imposed health insurance, without fixing the government policies that would enable older people to have achieved long term lower costs (such as with guaranteed renewable policies). It preserves subsidies by a different name. It doesn’t fully legalize real health insurance.

This GOP bill is essentially another government scheme—ObamaCare without Obama—not substantive progress toward restoration of individual rights and a free market in healthcare. Yet Republicans are still demonized. To get a really good bill, the GOP is going to have to ignore the demonization of the statist Left. The issue is not about “throwing millions off healthcare.” It’s about making government dependence unnecessary for accessible, self-funded health insurance. Rather than hide from their constituents, GOPers should seize the opportunity to explicitly stand up for individual self-determination over government dependence. They’re going to be demonized no matter what. They might as well seize the moral high road, which naturally belongs to the pro-liberty “hard Right.”

Related Reading:

The Left's False Alternative on Health Care

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