One of the characteristics of socialized medicine is that elected politicians shoulder the ultimate responsibility for providing the health care of citizens. So it is not unusual for a British Prime Minister, for example, to be berated in the House of Commons by a Member of Parliament whose constituent has received poor or delayed treatment in a National Health Service facility. In the same way, with the passage of the so-called Affordable Care Act in March, Washington, DC has taken responsibility for the health care of Americans. And Americans are not slow at complaining when they receive service that is unsatisfactory.
This political burden is already showing its head. Let’s take your humble correspondent as an example. My family’s health insurance premium has increased by 76 per cent over just two years. Even without ObamaCare, these premiums would have continued increasing far more quickly than inflation but the new law has given a clear incentive for insurers to bump up their rates now to maximize revenues before the main provisions kick in. Many other families are facing similar rate increases.
Moreover, ObamaCare failed to reform the government mandate system that distorts the health insurance market by placing extensive requirements on insured coverage and thereby produces artificially high premiums. So for the next four years, the combination of these two effects – the race for revenue and the mandates – will quickly push premiums to unsustainable levels.
This reality is blandly ignored by an out-of-touch White House, which lectures that ObamaCare, “makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today.” (Emphasis in original).
But it doesn’t stop there. As premiums increase, more families will be forced to drop their insurance, placing greater demands on the pools of insured. This, in turn, will force premiums higher still and the spiral will continue. The president has put in place a system which will soon be out of control.
Some are concluding that this is precisely what was intended. Commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Dick Morris predicted this would happen. After all, as middle-class families drop out of health insurance plans, they presumably will have no choice other than to embrace the socialized system. The alternative will be to “self-insure” – but that would amount to breaking the new law.
Politically, increases in health insurance premiums can be expected to lead to electoral consequences for Democrats in November, as ObamaCare is rightly blamed for making an imperfect system work substantially more imperfectly.
This is particularly so given the lack of public enthusiasm for ObamaCare in the first place. It was supported by less than 40 per cent of Americans when it became law and had to be forced through Congress in unseemly fashion after Republicans won an open Senate seat in Massachusetts.
A Virginia judge recently ruled that a legal challenge on the constitutionality of parts of ObamaCare, brought by a group of states, can proceed. This means that the new requirement for Americans to purchase health insurance ultimately will be adjudicated by the Supreme Court, most likely before the next presidential elections. With premiums heading higher quickly as a result of government requirements in the health care market, a government mandate to buy health insurance is grotesque and totalitarian.
Voters in Missouri agree. A proposition in August to prohibit the requirement to purchase health insurance was backed by a whopping 71 per cent of voters.
From enjoying the best health care in the world, Americans are faced with rapidly rising costs and broken promises. Non-government workers, in particular, are not shielded from the consequence of the new law. But the bottom line is that, politically, every failure of the new system, even those that may not be attributable to the legislation, can now be blamed directly on President Obama and Democrat Congressmen.
Resistance to ObamaCare may seem peculiar outside America. But as politicians defend patchy health care in Europe, they may spare a thought for the majority of Americans who support a political constitution that guarantees their liberties and who wish to avoid the oppression of socialized medicine.