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Only ObamaCare Can Save the Middle Class from Itself
Posted By Daniel Greenfield On October 29, 2013 @ 5:13 pm In The Point | 5 Comments
A TruthRevolt post takes on Josh Barro, one of those princes and princesses, the sons and daughters of important figures that the conservative establishment has rattling around, for his continued efforts trying to save the middle class from itself.
Barro has been lecturing Republicans for their unwillingness to formulate reasonable solutions. Reasonable solutions like what? Like taking away health plans from the middle class for their own good.
“One of the key reasons that America needed health care reform is that a lot of existing health plans were bad. There are a lot of health plans that Americans shouldn’t be able to keep,” Barro writes.
Playing Goldilocks, Barro argues that some plans covered too much while others covered too little. What was needed was a government plan that ensured everything was covered.
And making people in their 50s pay double their health care premiums so they can get maternity coverage is part of the Goldilocks “One size fits all” solution. Because that’s how Socialism and planned economies work.
“Some old plans were bad because they had big holes in coverage, like plans with annual and lifetime benefit limits that could leave beneficiaries destitute if they got hit with major illnesses. Other plans were bad because they covered too much, encouraging beneficiaries to consume needless care because they had little or no financial responsibility at the margin,” Barro writes.
Now you might think that it should be up to people to make these decisions. And that they might even do a better job of it than a government agency that spent 600 million dollars to design a website… and failed to do it.
The whole point of the American system was that people could find a coping strategy that worked for them. That’s why America had such a large and competent middle class.
But you would be wrong. According to Josh Barro, defender of the middle class… against the middle class.
“You might say “if people liked these plans, why not let them keep them?” Well, in the case of gold-plated plans, the problem is that the tax exclusion for employer provided health insurance allows these plans’ beneficiaries to effectively shift up to one-third of their health care costs to taxpayers. You should be able to get a very generous health plan, but not with a generous taxpayer subsidy.”
This is an Elizabeth Warren argument crossbred with a Grover Norquist argument to produce something that distantly resembles a free market argument, but isn’t.
We do indeed have patchwork tax system that favors some but not others, but if we’re going to treat every tax break as a justification for government intervention, then we can just give up and bring back the Soviet Union.
Furthermore the entire tax subsidies argument is a basically liberal assumption that everyone’s money belongs to the government and can be taken away at any time.
But Socialism is the entire underlying argument here.
America doesn’t have a free-market health care system and hasn’t for decades. With taxpayer subsidies so embedded in everybody’s plan purchasing decisions, taxpayers have a legitimate interest in ensuring that health plans serve the public interest, not just private interests.
Barro uses “Taxpayers” to mean the “Government”. It’s a dishonest little Norquistian twist. Taxpayers neither planned ObamaCare nor want it. Nor do taxpayers support destroying most people’s health plans, as Barro urges. This isn’t about taxpayers. It’s about a government bureaucracy, a liberal activocracy and assorted central planning geniuses who know how to care for everyone better than they can for themselves.
The entire pursuit of a perfect health care solution that Barro has turned into a club to beat Republicans with is misguided folly. It’s the same misguided folly that destroyed the Soviet Union and is wrecking Europe.
There is no one single solution. There are different solutions that different people can pursue and embrace. That was the American approach. It had its downsides, but it lacked the tyrannical cruelty of ramming everyone into a single health plan that they can’t afford and don’t need for their good. Single solutions don’t work. They never do.
People will find better solutions than activists, wonks and assorted political parasites will find for them. The free market isn’t perfect, but it works a lot better than Healthcare.gov.
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