There has been a collective shock recently over the realization that many Americans simply won’t be able to keep their current health insurance plans, at least not as they were. Defenders of the President are attempting to reinterpret his multiple and infamous “if you like your plan you can keep it” appeals. Had Obama conceded this point while attempting to garner support for his version of reform, it’s unlikely that the bill would have passed. Those surprised that Obamacare is not expanding choices and coverage while reducing premiums have denied reality from the beginning. An elementary look at Obamacare reveals that this was never possible in the first place.
While everyone has a bone to pick with the healthcare system, you could divide Americans into 4 general categories before Obamacare passed: (1) The majority of Americans who had insurance and were generally satisfied with their plans, (2) a minority of Americans who had insurance and were not satisfied (i.e., wanted more coverage and/or lower premiums), (3) Americans who wanted insurance but either could not or would not purchase it, and (4) Americans who did not want insurance. Groups 1 and 4 together were too large in number to defeat, so the President had to ensure those in the first camp that Obamacare would leave them alone. Those of us who challenged his “keep your own plan” claims at the time were branded as naysayers, defenders of the big insurance companies, or even racists. Never mind the fact that we were right and the issue was never that complicated. Here’s a quick review.
Obamacare proponents claimed that it would deliver more coverage to more Americans at lower rates. All three of these claims could be true only if the system was incredibly inefficient, and an added layer of government bureaucracy could force greedy physicians, pharmaceutical firms and insurance companies to finally give people their money’s worth. While there are inefficiencies in the system, most politicians knew that “getting rid of the fat in the system” would not come close to raising the revenue required. In fact, few politicians actually made such an argument. Most inferred it, hoping that the masses wouldn’t dig deep enough to see the obvious flaw. They were right.
The problem is simple. You can’t add millions of non-payers and partial-payers to the health care rolls without getting someone else to pay more. Put another way, if you’re going to mandate that those in groups 2 and 3 get more but pay less, then those in group 4 must be forced to purchase coverage they don’t want or need, and those in group 1 must pay more for their coverage. It doesn’t add up any other way.
The “keep your own plan” scam is the best example of voodoo economics I’ve seen in a long time. Of course, acknowledging this obvious flaw begs an answer to another question. If the President and his central planners knew from the beginning that keeping your own plan would not be possible for many Americans–and sooner or later everyone would find out–then why did they make the claim? I believe they knew deception was required to take such a huge step toward a government health care system. I see no other rational explanation.