John C. Goodman

Have you ever wondered why ObamaCare is burdened with so much complexity? Here's the answer: Barack Obama. Obama? Yes, the president himself. He campaigned on the promise that he would put partisanship aside and unite the country behind sensible answers to pressing problems. Then he didn't.

How could that possibly have worked in health care? Easy. Obama could have adopted the approach taken by his 2008 opponent, John McCain. In fact we now know that Zeke Emanuel and others on the White House staff were urging him to do just that. Also, before he became the president's chief economic adviser, Jason Furman wrote a paper in which he endorsed a McCain-type approach to health reform. Since McCain's approach was more progressive than ObamaCare, it would have been easy to garner support on the left. And how many Republicans would have opposed the plan, after campaigning for McCain and defending his health plan during the election?

Instead, the president chose a course that garnered not a single Republican vote. That meant that in order to get the Affordable Care Act passed, the administration had to appease every single Democratic constituency and every major special interest group. Imagine going around a table asking each group what is the one thing they must have in order to support the legislation — the insurance companies, the drug companies, the hospitals, the labor unions, AMA, AARP, etc., and no one making sure that all the separate demands fit together in a sensible way.

That's how ObamaCare was created. No wonder it's a Rube Goldberg nightmare.

What was the McCain approach? It was simple: give everyone the same refundable tax credit for private insurance, regardless of where they obtain it — at work, in an exchange, in the marketplace, etc. Think about how many problems would vanish had ObamaCare done that. As I wrote previously:

Virtually every problem with the online exchanges has one and only one cause: People at different income levels and in different insurance pools get different subsidies from the federal government.


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.”