When Chief Justice Roberts ran logic, reason, law, and his formerly high reputation for integrity through a cross-cut confetti shredder last June to save Obamacare by finding its individual mandate to be a tax rather than a penalty, I railed against it. His reasoning relied on, among other things, his clearly erroneous assertion that if Congress decided to impose a tax on people for failing to install energy efficient windows, no one would question its authority to do so. That statement was wrong, and the conclusion he drew from it was wrong.
But he was right that Obamacare imposes additional taxes, in the sense that an increased cost resulting from additional government burdens is a tax. Economists point out that cost increases caused by government regulation might as well be taxes. The government doesn’t get the money, but the effect on the person paying the additional costs is the same as if it did.
Obamacare requires people to pay more for insurance than they did before, because now their insurance must cover conditions they will never encounter. The policy of a young unmarried man must cover maternity and natal costs. As must the policy of an elderly man, and of a woman long past childbearing. The policy of a person who abstains from cigarettes, alcohol and drugs must cover substance abuse treatment. These are just a few examples.
The fact is that the laughably named “Affordable Care Act” imposes on those least able to afford it the burden of covering the costs of health care he or she will never need. It’s a spread-the-pain-around behemoth that deprives people – not just the consumers of health care, but the providers of it as well, along with insurers of it – of choices and control. The government has made the choices and has seized control.
Before Obamacare, an insurance company could take your actual circumstances into account in determining your premiums, including the fact that you avoid unhealthy activities, and you as the policyholder benefited from the lower premiums resulting from your good fortune and your behavior. No longer. Investors’ Business Daily warned of this in great detail before the bill became law. Both Houses of Congress and the White House controlled by Democrats, it was foisted upon us anyway without a single Republican vote.
A recent television commercial for automobile insurance shows a man and his son motoring down a street, and people one by one latching onto their car like leeches. His windshield completely obscured, the driver stops his car and asks a knowledgeable looking woman who appears at his window what’s going on. She explains that the leeches are “rate suckers.” “Their bad driving makes car insurance more expensive for the rest of us.” But, she goes on, the sponsor of the commercial takes the driver’s good driving record into account in determining premiums, saving the driver money by not requiring him to subsidize the risky behavior of others. The rate suckers fall off the car, and the man and boy happily motor on, unencumbered.
Obamacare turns each of us into the car with human leeches all over it. Much to their apparent surprise, people around the country have been finding this out if they are among those able to log onto an “exchange” and find a policy. Before, they only had to pay what the insurance company charged for the coverage they needed. Now they must pay for the coverage the government requires.
It is true that many people have health conditions not of their own making, and their costs of medical care will be higher on account of it. But it’s difficult to imagine a worse way to deal with that sad fact than Obamacare.