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Before the 2016 election, Republicans were telling anybody who will listen that they would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. After the election, with control of the House, Senate and White House, the Republicans want to “fix” and “repair,” the ACA. This betrays a familiar dynamic of the bipartisan ruling class.
Liberal and left-wing Democrats take the lead in the expansion of government, as in the FDR’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, with its vaunted “War on Poverty” that proved particularly destructive. Republicans have been in a position to scale back or eliminate these statist programs but declined to do so. Instead they do their best to “fix” or “repair” them, to “make them work,” imagining that this shows that they have “grown” or become more compassionate. For all the talk of accountability, small government, fiscal responsibility and so forth, the Republicans effectively function as tax collectors of the welfare state, completely comfortable with ever-expanding government. This dynamic is much more serious with the Affordable Care Act.
Not only is it unaffordable, but as health reporter Emily Bazar has shown, Obamacare promotes “widespread consumer misery.” Many victims wonder if Obamacare was just laying the groundwork for what Hillary Clinton called the “public option” or “single payer.” Both mean government monopoly health care, what some politicians persist in calling “socialized medicine.”
Despite the claim of the 44th president of the United States, you could not keep your health plan under the ACA, perhaps the most massive “taking” in U.S. history. Under the ACA, you don’t get the care you believe best meets your needs. You get only what the government wants you to have, but that is not how statists advertise it. As the then-president put back in 2013, health care is “a right.” This is highly misleading because as John Graham has noted, there is no right to health care even in Canada’s government monopoly system.
The ACA was a statist coup disguised in a white coat. Attempts to “repair” it amount to collaboration with that coup, and betray utter contempt for the people. Truth is, even the status quo ante would be better than the “widespread consumer misery” of the ACA.