10/04/2010

The Obamacare Follies


Via-The Weekly Standard


Don’t let Obamacare reach its third birthday.

BY Matthew Continetti

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, aka Obamacare, turned six months old on September 23. Hardly anybody celebrated the occasion, and it isn’t hard to figure out why. Last spring President Obama promised Democrats that supporting the new entitlement would turn out to be a political winner. But, like a lot of Obama promises, this one’s turned out to be a bunch of baloney.

Obamacare is less popular than it was on the day it was born, and it wasn’t popular then, either. Practically the only Democrats who mention the law in campaign ads are those who brag about voting against it. Large numbers of Americans, including a majority of independents, would like to see the law repealed. No wonder the pro-repeal GOP maintains an edge in the congressional generic ballot. As much as the public continues to distrust Republicans, it understands that the first step in undoing this harmful law is giving John Boehner the speaker’s gavel.

The case against Obamacare is simple. The requirement to buy health insurance is constitutionally dubious. The law lards taxes, rules, and fees onto an already over-regulated health insurance market. Its accounting is filled with gimmicks and tricks and relies on rosy assumptions about how many people will sign up for the government-subsidized insurance “exchange.” Those subsidies may be much more expensive than anticipated, because companies probably will find it cheaper to pay a fine than pay for their employees’ health care.

Furthermore, since the fees for violating the individual mandate are also low, Obamacare may actually lead to an increase in the uninsured, as individuals wait until they are sick to buy a health plan. In the meantime, since the bill increases demand for insurance while constraining supply, premiums will rise. And when the government attempts to control the price of premiums (as with any other good), shortages will result

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