John C. Goodman

As far as I can tell, things have gotten worse. In fact I don't know any employee of any health insurance company that is willing to go on the record with any statement that is critical of the Affordable Care Act.

Now it's possible that my experience is unique. And I know that there are many readers of this blog who also interact with folks in the industry. So if I'm wrong about this, please correct me in the comments.

The result is unanswered charges that are getting more and more reckless. Within the past two weeks, for example, we have had the president himself, David Axelrod, Zeke Emanuel and others all asserting…

[BTW, have you ever noticed how Republicans in public tend to speak their own mind and as a result all seem to say something different? That doesn't happen to Democrats. When they go on TV they are the epitome of the disciplined message. They all say the same thing, even using the very same words. Have those words been tested before focus groups prior to the Democrats even appearing before the cameras? I would bet so.]

Anyway, back to the most recent charge, which is that under the pre-Obama system insurers cancelled policies after people got sick. Really? So says the president. And Axelrod. And Emanuel.

Hmmm. I remember when one insurer got hit with one of the biggest judgments ever because the insurer would not approve a bone marrow transplant to treat breast cancer (a procedure we all now know doesn't work). Are we supposed to believe that these same companies routinely cancel policies and refuse to pay medical bills just because someone gets sick?

Please, give us an example. I don't believe you.

In the early 1980s (while there was still a Berlin Wall), I went through Check Point Charlie from West Berlin to East Berlin. On either side of the wall, there were the same people with the same culture, same genes, etc. The only difference was a difference of political systems, and because of that difference East Berlin was of course poorer.

After about an hour of touring, though, I sensed that there was some other difference and it took me a while to pin point it. In East Berlin, no one smiled. No one laughed. No one joked. People looked at us and at each other with hesitation and even apprehension. Were we really tourists? Or might we be posing as tourists to report on their behavior?

If I could summarize everything in one word, it would be "fear." The East Germans were afraid. You could see it in their eyes. And that was something you never saw in the West.

So why am I telling you about a 30-year-old experience? Because I sense that same feeling again ? right here, in the United States of America.


John C. Goodman

John C. Goodman is President of the Goodman Institute and Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute. His books include the widely acclaimed A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America and the award-winning Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the "Father of Health Savings Accounts.”