The Obamacare Ten-Step Self-Help Program

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO’s The Corner

As all the still underappreciated contours of Obamacare become known, and as those who hold employer-provided plans will soon discover their existing “scams” also do not pass ACA muster, the public will begin to understand that Obamacare is another redistributive zero-sum plan to transfer wealth from one segment of the less-deserving population to another more deserving.

Like most other Obama policies, there are the usual footprints and assumptions that accompany the too-clever-by-half redistribution. 

One is the idea of fairness, or rather everyone’s indebtedness to the state: those who budgeted for health care, either through individual plans, or obtained at work, got some sort of silent automatic benefit from the state, an advantage usually without much credit due to themselves. In contrast, those without insurance are all assumed to be victims of the system, who either were long ago dropped, or could not afford formal coverage, and were both without recourse to health care (such as walk-in clinics, emergency rooms, federal and state clinics), and were in that position due to someone else or nefarious forces beyond their control. Whiners who complain that their premiums go up are really the selfish who do not wish to pay “a little more” for their less fortunate brethren.

Two, all wise and moral Washington technocrats must rightly step in, divide up the victims from the victors, make the necessary adjustments, and even everything out with a standard plan that fits all on the back end. Government minds know what is best for private employers and the self-employed, despite never working for anyone other than government and never being self-employed.

Three, exemptions from Obamacare are assumed for the noble architects who drew up the plan; given their exalted labors, they deserve to be excused from the ramifications of their own ideology. In some cases, the progressive and sympathetic, in the otherwise dubious private sector, may also have to be given a few exemptions as well.

Four, the now-accustomed tawdry, postmodern presidential lying is the usual necessary means that is always justified by the assumed noble ends. So lies become somewhat untrue or unfortunately not quite completely true in all cases, or true in spirit if not quite 100 percent true in mundane expression.

Five, the opposition is demonized as callous and cruel; skeptics really wanted Obamacare to fail rather than being worried about its effects on fellow Americans. Skepticism of Obamacare is always driven by “racism,” “anger,” “privilege,” “tea-party frustration”—anything other than principled opposition to an incompetent program that will absorb one-sixth of the U.S. economy and retard economic recovery.

Six, note the now-normal Orwellian use of language. This time around it goes well beyond the aptly named “affordable” health-care act. Thus existing but to be cancelled plans are linguistically reduced to “scams” and “substandard” and “rip-offs” and therefore deserve to be ended by a federal government far wiser than the rubes who were taken in. Before the ACA there were not really insurance plans at all, only simulacra. So how can virtual plans be cancelled?

Seven, legislative deception is again omnipresent. Before the election, the goodies that were “free” were front-loaded into the system (e.g., stay on your parents plan until 26, no one gets turned down from preexisting conditions, etc.), either deemed “free,” or properly to be paid by “them” (e.g., the usual suspects: the 1 percent, the greedy, and the didn’t-build-it crowd). Only after the election, and after the acrimony of the bill’s passage, Americans learn that offering more products to more people is usually more expensive. The American public, like the proverbial fish, was seen by Obama as hungry, skeptical, and a bit unaware, and thus had to be first hooked with trinkets and power bait, before being reeled in.

Eight, as usual with Obama, the middle class takes the hit. The noble poor get subsidized care, the rich have the money or clout to navigate around Obamacare, while the non-romantic young and middle class, especially the grasping self-employed, will end up with higher deductibles and premiums for things they rarely use and may not, albeit in their ignorance, want.

Nine, we see the usual Obama techie cool. Kayak, Amazon, etc. are the accustomed hip referents, as if the wired postmodern Obama assures us pre–Silicon Valley dinosaurs that there is always an online solution to pesky old problems like human nature. Thus the cool one-step website . . .

Ten, of course, is the usual Obama disingenuous doubling down. It was not enough to swear that plans were not going to be dropped or prices to rise or doctors to be changed, Obama had to add the emphatic “Period!” after each false promise given ad nauseam at campaign stops. To originally sell the plan there were the frauds to buy votes through legislative purchases, kickbacks, and exemptions, with no desire for bipartisan compromise. Now comes the usual Benghazi-video-like campaigning assuring us, in Lois Lerner fashion, that nothing much is wrong other than a “glitch” or two. Perhaps we will soon here that the six Americans who obtained first-day plans just love what they purchased.

About five years ago, it became too much to ask of Obama that he just outline his particular plan, explain its advantages and shortcomings, invite input from skeptics, pass the bill with some bipartisan support, enact both the costs and benefits at the same time, warn in advance those who might suffer, and then confess mistakes and quit demonizing critics. Instead Obamacare follows the method of Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the AP and IRS scandals, Syria, and the NSA: fibs and full lies, counter-accusations, the non-stop campaigning, and Nixonian charges of some terrible -ism or -ology that drives the criticism of the day.

What was once bothersome is now just boring . . .

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