The political damage caused by ObamaCare
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:04 AMAn article in the latest Commentary magazine offers “an account of political self-destruction,” in the words of the subheadline, associated with the push to establish ObamaCare.
Tevi Troy documents numerous problems associated with the federal health care legislation approved last March:
Americans were unhappy with the manner in which the bill was passed—with wavering senators and congressmen getting sweetheart deals for their states in exchange for their votes, which were quickly given nicknames of notoriety like the Cornhusker Kickback. More important, they did not like the substance of the bill itself, and the way in which the grand new system of rules and regulations was greeted in the real world deepened their dislike. Within a week of the bill’s passage, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced that he would be reconsidering his innovative “Healthy Indiana Plan” because of certain new restrictions in the bill. AT&T declared a $1 billion loss as a result of tax changes in the new law. Later in the spring, AT&T’s discovery that it could save $1.8 billion by ending employer-sponsored coverage for its employees and leaving them instead to enter new and complex “exchanges” managed by the government gave Americans a frightening sense of the perverse incentives the bill would create.
It was at this point that the essential dishonesty of President Obama’s repeated promise to dubious voters—“if you like your health care, you can keep it”—became inescapable. What Obama had meant, it turned out, was that government would not actively terminate employer-sponsored coverage to force you into a government program. So if employers chose to act rationally in response to the new law’s incentive structure, well, then, it would be your employer terminating your coverage and not the government.
It didn’t take long for the mood among Democrats to turn from fear of the party to fear of the citizenry.
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