Obamacare Won’t ‘Solve’ Uninsured Problem, Either
June 29, 2012
Yuval Levin at National Review Online reviews some of the practical effects of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision:
Combined, these two rather arbitrary acts of revision mean that if the CBO reassesses the law’s effect on the number of Americans without insurance (which it certainly will do) using the same methods it used originally, it is likely to find a much smaller reduction in the uninsured.
The scope of its projected reduction of the uninsured and the (already false at the time) assertion that it did not raise taxes on the middle class were of course essential to the bare and narrow passage of Obamacare.
(Hyperlink in original.)
A common liberal response to criticism of Obamacare is to say, Oh, yeah? What’s your solution, then? How would you solve the problem of millions of Americans without health insurance? This is an inapt response in a number of ways. (1) The fact that some people have not obtained a certain insurance product does not per se represent a problem (why the focus on insurance rather than on health outcomes themselves?), but more to the point,
(2) Obamacare does not solve this problem, either. See above, and below.
(3) As Thomas Sowell says, there are no solutions, only trade-offs.
If a given proposed “solution” would do more harm than good, then it should not be enacted, and critics should argue against it whether they have any alternative to offer or not. In that situation, the status quo is their alternative, and is actually a better idea than the proposed “solution”.
Nevertheless, conservatives do have alternative proposals for health-care reform—for example, fixing certain inequalities in the tax code so that we can move away from employer-centered health insurance and toward consumer-centered insurance. As Mr. Levin points out, many of these ideas are discussed at length in this National Affairs article. A doctor at PJ Media offers more ideas in this much shorter piece. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them; the point is that conservatives have many other ideas for health-care reform. The phenomenon of conservatives’ having ideas is not some late development in reaction to Obamacare, either—as the National Affairs article points out, President Bush was proposing fixing the tax code to move away from employer-based insurance back in 2007, for example.
Meanwhile, in other Obamacare commentary:
- A few sarcastic conservatives are wondering how liberals would feel if (under the same constitutional logic that upheld Obamacare) Congress passed a law requiring everyone to own a gun. (This Web site is bigger, but this one said it first.) This isn’t as far-fetched as you might think—we’re told that Swiss men really are required to own a gun from age 20 to age 30.
- Given that Chief Justice John Roberts had to rewrite the law (not a judge’s job) to find it constitutional, Deroy Murdock had a great line:
To paraphrase former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Supreme Court had to rule on Obamacare so we could find out what’s in it.
- In that piece, Ramesh Ponnuru also had a great line, agreeing with my remark yesterday that Roberts might be a wily one (though, as it turns out, not necessarily in our favor this time):
He acted cleverly. He also acted less like a judge than like a politician, and a slippery one.
Note that because the Supreme Court did not strike down Obamacare, the noxious HHS mandate remains, and will take effect before the election—in just about thirty days, actually. Yesterday’s ruling resolved the lawsuits from half the states over other aspects of Obamacare, but there are now 23 more lawsuits over the HHS mandate, on behalf of organizations and individuals, to protect their freedom of conscience.