Friday, July 6, 2012

Jonah Goldberg Finds the Losers Under ObamaCare

In his recent article, Jonah Goldberg indentifies the losers under ObamaCare, a task that the legislation's supporters seem to have difficulty in achieving:

For the record, there are losers under Obamacare. Here's a short list: (1) taxpayers who will carry the load of what the Congressional Budget Office says will be a $2 trillion price tag when the law is fully implemented; (2) the millions of workers the CBO says will be pushed off their current insurance coverage, even though the president insists you can keep your existing insurance if you like it; (3) innumerable and unknowable numbers of sick people who will not be screened for various diseases because some bureaucrats' protocol says it's too expensive; (4) Roman Catholic and other religious institutions forced to violate their values; (5) a few million so-called freeloaders who don't want to buy health insurance for perfectly rational reasons.


Only a third of Americans fully supported the law when it was signed, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll, and today that number stands essentially unchanged. In fairness, a fifth of the law's opponents are left-wing voters who would prefer a single-payer system that doesn't involve incestuous collusion between government and big business. I don't support socialized medicine, but I can respect this sort of principled objection.

But why is the only legitimate opposition to the law one that creates "losers" in some actuarial or accounting sense? Even if I thought we could afford a vast new entitlement, I'd still be opposed to Obamacare.

Whether it's called a tax or a mandate, the federal government has never opted to compel citizens to purchase something as a condition of breathing while American. Obamacare represents a major advance for the old FDR vision of turning sovereign citizens into clients of the state. It empowers an army of Bloombergs to do what they think is for your own good and to redefine your rights as mere perks of the system.

The only thing I might disagree with here is his contention that "the federal government has never opted to compel citizens to purchase something as a condition of breathing while American."  To believe that, you'd have to believe that buying disability insurance or a deferred annuity for retirement is "not purchasing something."  Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Roberts' decision is that it solidifies the leftist belief that a mandate to purchase anything can be found constitutional by labeling them "taxes," as progressives past have done with Social Security's insurance mandate.  And forcing Americans to purchase insurance is as unconstitutional today as it was in the '30s. But the analysis is spot-on otherwise, and the rest can be read here.

William Sullivan