Most of the Republicans have it wrong on Obamacare. In fact, they are probably more inconsistent with their proposals than Obama. Since I am a libertarian, I am obviously in favor of a complete repeal of Obamacare, but I think the Republican plan may be worse. Since the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about the new health care legislation (also known as Obamacare), I figured now would be a good time to discuss the merits of the Republican “plan”.
First, a few side notes on this whole thing. On Monday, the court heard arguments about whether they could even hear the case based on some 19th century law that says a tax hike cannot be challenged in court until the tax actually takes effect. I find this strange because some taxes from the legislation have already taken effect. The tanning tax (is Obama against white people getting a tan and getting some vitamin D?) has already taken effect. In addition, you can no longer use money from a health savings account to buy over-the-counter medicine without a prescription. This is basically a tax hike.
I suppose this whole tax debate is centered around the mandate to buy health insurance. The tax penalty for not buying insurance has not yet taken effect, but there certainly have been new taxes that have already taken effect from Obamacare.
Next, from a constitutional standpoint, this whole piece of legislation is unconstitutional. The 10th Amendment clearly says that those powers not delegated by the Consitution are to be left to the states or the people. Since managing health care is not mentioned in Article I, Section 8, the federal government has no constitutional authority to pass legislation regarding health insurance or health care. Of course, this would also mean that the federal government should not be doing anything like Medicare, Medicaid, HMOs, and the thousands of other things it does in health care.
The ironic thing is that if there is one thing the federal government does have the power to do based on the Constitution, it is regulating interstate commerce. That means the federal government could strike down state laws which prohibit people from buying health insurance from another state. This would actually create more competition and reduce costs. Therefore, the one constitutional thing that could be done by the federal government is not done and it is one of the few things that would make health care and health insurance cheaper (aside from repealing all of the federal laws).
So why are the Republicans actually worse than Obama and the Democrats on this? Most Republicans that I listen to say they support certain aspects of Obamacare, but they don’t support the insurance mandate. Of course, this does not include Ron Paul and a few others. But most of the Republicans I hear, even the supposedly conservative ones, say they support a law that requires insurance companies to not discriminate based on pre-existing conditions.
This is completely ridiculous. Not discriminating based on pre-existing conditions defeats the whole point of insurance. It would no longer be insurance. If I can just buy insurance after my house burns down or after I get in a car accident, why would I ever get it in the first place? If the Republicans have their way, people would wait until they get sick before they buy insurance. That means that the healthy people would be less likely to get insurance and insurance companies would get stuck covering mostly sick people. This would drive insurance rates sky high.
The ultimate result of the Republican plan would drive health insurance companies out of business or make insurance completely unaffordable. It would be a sure path to fully nationalized healthcare. So based on the plan being spouted by many Republicans, we would surely have socialized medicine.
Obamacare, while fascist and a boom to insurance companies, actually makes more sense. People would be required to buy health insurance or face a penalty (tax). Therefore, people would not be allowed to just wait until they get sick and then buy health insurance, unless they chose to pay the penalty. Obamacare is actually less of a disaster than the plan being proposed by many Republicans.
The Republicans are saying that nobody should be forced by the government to buy anything. I agree. But most of the people saying this are completely hypocritical. We are forced to buy nearly 4 trillion dollars worth of things every year by the federal government, along with an almost equal amount by state and local governments. For every tax that I pay, I am being forced to buy something I don’t want to. I am being forced to buy wars, food stamps for others, education for other people’s children, etc. At least with Obamacare I am being forced to buy something that I can actually use for myself and my family.
This is not a defense of Obamacare. I just wanted to point out the absurdity of the Republican “plan” and the absurdity of the arguments being made by many Republicans.
In conclusion, I hope that Obamacare is repealed. However, if the Supreme Court strikes down the insurance mandate while leaving the rest of the legislation in place, it could be a total disaster for health care in the future.