Democrats will often get irritable when some clingy philistine refers to Obamacare as "socialized medicine." It's simply not a precise phrase for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In any event, it's not socialized yet, you ignoramuses! Progress doesn't happen overnight. No worries, though, recent signs portend that Obamacare will give us the state-run plan we proles deserve.
A new study published in McKinsey Quarterly claims that in 2014, the provisions of Obamacare will induce 3 in 10 employers to "definitely or probably" stop offering health coverage to their employees. And we can only assume the companies have had the good sense not to read the legislation.
Sure, the president promised we could keep our insurance if we liked it. But why would you want to be mixed up with pitiless corporations that focus on profits, anyway? Obamacare courageously forces states to implement concocted "exchanges" so that someone much smarter than you can pick participants, regulate prices and keep an eye on things. Sounds like a vigorous marketplace. It's only a wonder that more Americans aren't clamoring for government-run supermarkets, smartphones and dating exchanges, as well.
You'll also recall that the un-socialized system allowed 20, 30, 40 million (please feel free to come up with any number you'd like; The New York Times won't care) people to go uninsured. Medicare's chief actuary estimated that 400,000 would sign up for these high-risk pools before Obamacare kicked in. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the budget would be able to handle 200,000, and others claimed that the program would need eight times the funding to meet demand. This was the driving reason for Obamacare. But as Megan McArdle of The Atlantic points out, just as with the exchanges, folks have been standoffish, with only about 18,000 people signing up.
Victory, right? The success of a government handout is always measured by how little Americans need to use it, right? Well, judging from the food stamp administration's actions, that would be a big no. What this probably calls out for is more public service announcements or a wider net. Hey, we'll just get some toffee-nosed yacht jockeys to offset the cost.
That's not to say there aren't people out there who really need support. The president has generously handed out nearly 1,400 Obamacare waivers to the neediest among us. About 20 percent of them have been awarded to an upmarket district in San Francisco that, by pure chance, is represented by Nancy Pelosi. Others, such as the AARP and local unions, had demanded we pass Obamacare so they could not take part in it immediately.
We'll also soon be hearing more about the lawsuits challenging Obamacare's individual mandate. Randy Barnett, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University Law Center, recently asked, "If Congress can impose this economic mandate on the people, what can't it mandate the people to buy?" Everything and nothing. And that's the beauty of it.
And let's not forget it was Obama, the newfound holy savior of Medicare, who pinned the key cost control component of health care reform on Medicare through his Independent Payment Advisory Board, or what bitter righties call a rationing board.
Rationing boards. Political favors. Lies. Coercion. Broken promises. Precedents that can force us to buy about anything. It might not be socialism, technically speaking. But really, what's not to like?