Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ObamaCare's Promise of "Freedom" From Work Paid for by Others is Parasitism

In early February, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that, because of ObamaCare incentives, many American will work less. As the Washington Post reports:

More than 2 million Americans who would otherwise rely on a job for health insurance will quit working, reduce their hours or stop looking for employment because of new health benefits available under the Affordable Care Act, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

Since then, the Left has been scrambling to minimize—or even justify as good—these effects. For example, TPM DC's Dylan Scott writes in What The Obamacare Debate Reveals About How Americans View Work:

For the last week, the political class has spent a lot of time debating whether Americans should work less, a response to the Congressional Budget Office report that concluded some people would because of Obamacare. Is it a bad thing if a federal program encourages people to work less? What if it gives them freedom to do more of what they want?

Two questions come to mind: At whose expense is that new-found "freedom" bought? And why, before ObamaCare, did people "otherwise rely on a job for health insurance?"

The answer to the first question is, other people. ObamaCare forcibly seizes wealth from others via direct taxation or insurance mandates that forces up premiums by forcing people to buy health coverage they may not want, need, or can afford. Insurance companies, in other words, become appendages of the welfare state (they've long been that, but now much more so).

Now, the freedom to work less, or in a job or activity one finds more enjoyable, is not necessarily bad, if one earns that freedom through his own industriousness and saving. But such "freedom" paid for by forcibly seizing wealth from others is parasitism, and immoral to its core.

That welfare state programs discourage work is no secret. Even some "liberals" acknowledge this fact, as the New Jersey Star-Ledger recently did. They were surprisingly forthcoming on the CBO report, which they said highlights "Obamacare's collateral damage." This, the Star-Ledger states, points to "a fundamental problem in America’s approach to its welfare state" which "is a problem liberals need to face squarely." (I'll have more to say on this editorial in my next post.)

The other sense in which ObamaCare offers people "freedom to do more of what they want" is in creating a kind of insurance portability, primarily by banning pre-existing conditions restrictions on health insurers and creating government-controlled individual "market" exchanges.

But it was the government itself that created the problem of people being tied to a job strictly for the health benefits. That situation, which ObamaCare was intended to "fix", was created decades ago when the government started discriminating against individuals through the tax code by making insurance tax deductible for employer group plans but not individual plans. Add to that restrictions on the sale of policies across state lines, and the individual's health insurance gets tied to employment and/or geography, severely restricting the individual's freedom to change jobs or retire early. Opponents of ObamaCare have long called for an end to the employer-based health insurance system, which can be easily done with a few simple free market reforms. But statists have and continue to ignore this fix, being wedded as they are to their grand scheme of more and more government control.

With this in mind, it is positively galling to read this from Scott:
Obamacare could open up the possibilities by giving Americans the freedom to start their own business or take a job that they'll find more fulfilling or retire early, as Sharone said, and that could lead to a [sic] America that still possesses a work ethic that is the envy of the world, but in a way that's fundamentally different from what exists now.
"The key is having control of our work. That's what will determine the future," Kochan said. "If we gave people control, I think we would see a very strong work ethic, but not the extreme hours."
In other words, slavery is freedom. What about the people paying for the ObamaCare subsidies? Where is their control over their own money? What about the people forced to buy government-mandated health coverage from insurers hog-tied by regulations, rather than policies tailored to their own needs and budgets? Where is their freedom over their own health care dollars?

And as to "having control of our work," think about homeowners, life, or auto insurance. Can we change jobs without worrying about losing those policies? Of course. If we owned our health insurance policies in the same way as other types of insurance, we would have "control over our work." The "control of our work" justification for the hugely rights-violating, government empowering ObamaCare is just a phoney rationalization.

A huge new government program isn't needed to "give people control." The government simply needs to stop violating and start protecting individual rights, so people can regain control over their own affairs.

Related Reading:

Is ObamaCare's Individual Mandate Necessary to Prevent "Freeloading?"

Milton Wolf’s PatientCare: A Sensible Alternative to ObamaCare

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

Government introduces a bunch of convulsions into what's otherwise a simpler, more direct process.