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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

It’s Not about the Website or the Individual Mandate

When discussing the problems with Obamacare we often hear the politicians focus on the failure of the website, healthcare.gov.  Clearly, the website failure is a great illustration of the dangers of statism and bureaucracy, but there is no doubt the website will get fixed.  They will make sure of it.

The individual mandate is also a tangential point in the scheme of things.  Obviously, there are constitutional issues with it, and the broader implication of the mandate is that government now has the power to regulate (or “tax”) not just all activity but even inactivity.  However, from a healthcare standpoint, this is not nearly the most offensive part of Obamacare.

The most odious part of Obamacare (at least on the insurance side) is the fact that it prohibits insurers from doing almost everything it takes to lower costs and requires everything under the sun that will raise premiums.  Between community rating and guaranteed issue on steroids, requirements of superfluous comprehensive coverage, and lack of individually tailored plans, the system was designed to fail and lead to single payer.

In a sense, this is the crown jewel of Democrat socialism.  With all of their onerous interventions into the private sector, they engender job-killing price-hiking distortions while concurrently offering subsidies.  The ultimate goal is to make the private sector unaffordable and create perennial dependency and a permanent constituency – all the while racking up trillions in debt.  They have succeeded to a large degree and have amassed a high floor of support as a result of their poverty-inducing interventions.  Now they are going for the kill.

As a result of the crazy mandates, which are built on top of decades’ worth of price-hiking healthcare interventions, Obamacare is designed to immediately destroy the private insurance market and slow bleed the employer-based market.  At the same time, they are offering subsidies to many middle class families.  Although most people will not be happy with this new arrangement, they have no choice but to submit to their new dependency status for such a vital service.

Within a few years, the entire middle class will be dependent upon government subsidies for lousy insurance and sub-par healthcare (from all the regulations on actual medical care, not just insurance).  Those beyond the subsidy level will just be subjected to the lousy care without the subsidy.

Consequently, to the extent we ever pursue a fix or partial delay, it should not be a delay of the individual mandate.  That will only give cover to red state Democrats and fail to deal with the fundamental problem of Obamacare – destroying affordable care and creating permanent dependency.  Instead, we need to restore the free market in order to compete against Obamacare.

The President called upon Republicans to offer solutions instead of just criticism.  Well, short of full repeal, here is the solution.  Pass a new law allowing insurance companies to provide plans that are mandate free and tailor-made to individuals.  If Obamacare is so great, people will flock to the exchanges once the website is fixed.  However, if we are correct in assuming that the motive for profit will prompt insurers to offer cheaper plans once they are unshackled form the mandates, then it will be lights out for Obamacare.

What are you scared of, Mr. President?  Why are you intimidating insurance companies into submission?  After all, it’s all for the good of the people.

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