The Monarch Presidency - Obamacare and the Individual Mandate
Actually, I have not been an opponent of an individual mandate. It seems to me intuitively correct that the state should not have to pay for the healthcare of a financially secure individual who for whatever reason has decided not to buy healthcare insurance, then finds himself or herself in an emergency room.
Furthermore, I am not opposed to an entitlement program that would aid those who cannot afford health insurance, either through the extension of Medicare or by some sort of welfare supplement program. I don’t see it as a “right”, simply an entitlement program. People on food stamps, for example, receive a card that pays a large percentage of their monthly food bill. The indigent can receive healthcare insurance aid much the same way.
People who have pre-existing conditions can also receive such aid even if they are well above the poverty line and wouldn’t qualify for Medicare, since obviously the cost of someone with cancer who is just now applying for healthcare insurance would be exorbitant.
However, supporting the individual mandate is not the same as supporting Obamacare, which accomplishes remarkably little of the positive ends it claims to set out to achieve. It does provide ‘universal healthcare insurance’. In fact, it leaves about 30 million without healthcare insurance. Nor has it lowered the premiums for those of us with healthcare insurance. 2011, a year with an average inflation rate of 3.2%, saw healthcare costs rise 5.8%. Yahoo News reports that “Most consumers can expect to keep seeing increases in premiums and co-payments because the underlying cost of health care is expected to rise. The law contains a few mechanisms to curb premiums, but it also requires that many insurance providers make their benefits more generous, which will raise their cost.”
What Obamacare does accomplish however is to socialize America’s healthcare system, trampling over individual and state rights. Obamacare gives the president, by way of Department of Health and Human Services, almost unchallengeable power. It is hard to be determine just what the limits of the federal government will be, as Obamacare is sprinkled over two dozen times with the phrase “to be determined”, meaning that if something comes up, suddenly Obamacare grants the executive branch to power to decide upon it.
We recently saw that power exercised with the mandate that Catholic institutions pay for contraception, including aborticides. We saw it as well in the granting of numerous waivers to Obamacare, granted by Obama to his cronies. That’s not a power in the original language of the law, but Obama’s cronies wanted waivers so...there it is. Anything Obama – or any future president wants to do – he or she can, especially if it can be couched with phrases like “social justice” or “fairness.” As Charles Krauthammer wrote, “The new post-Obamacare dispensation is a central government of unlimited power from which citizen and civil society struggle to carve out and maintain spheres of autonomy.”
Obamacare also sets up what Obama and his allies truly desire, the single payer option. Why else would the penalty to employers for not providing healthcare insurance to their employees be so much less than the cost of actually providing such insurance but to push more to government-issued insurance? Why else would Obama attempt to have TRICARE costs rise so dramatically but to push veterans into government issued insurance of his liking?
Obama has also limited the rights of people who want to buy healthcare to shop for it nationally by way of the Internet - live in New Jersey but see an insurance plan in Utah that will save you and your family thousands? Sorry – and has blocked tort reform, not only to appease his lawyer lobbyists but to further discourage the purchase of private insurance by keeping prices unnecessarily high. This is also the major motivation behind the Catholic mandate. Obama knew that many Catholic institutions would simply stop providing healthcare insurance rather than comply with the HHS’s edict that it provide free contraception, which will force many more onto the government’s plan.
But it gets worse. The executive branches power has also increased immeasurably recently with a The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling that the EPA can categorize carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. We now have cap-and-trade, despite the minor fact that Congress never passed cap-and-trade legislation. Thanks to this ruling, the president, by way of the EPA, now has the means to continue his war on the 85% of the economy that uses fossil fuels. Killing the Keystone Pipeline was barely a warm-up.
Furthermore, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Arizona ruling, the president can limit a state’s right to defend itself against an influx of illegal aliens, even if the state is simply enforcing federal law.
Even when the Reign of Obama ends in four years or a few months, these powers will still exist. Republican candidates may run against these powers, but what politician once elected in office has ever requested less power? Not many.
Ed Klein was recently on our show discussing his book, The Amateur. Smart guy, great book – but Obama is no amateur. He has succeeded what consolidating power to the executive branch in ways even some of his most progressive predecessors could only imagine.
What will a president to do with so much power that cannot be checked by Congress or the voters? That’s hard to fully comprehend. Logic classes teach that slippery slope arguments are a fallacy. Tell that to New Yorkers who saw little harm in their mayor’s war on cigarettes, or even his war on trans-fats or salt, until there was a proposed ban on 16 ounce sodas, and talk of bans on movie theatre popcorn and bacon cheeseburgers. There may be no slippery slopes, but some slopes are a lot steeper than others.