Adrianna McIntyre wrote a very good article over at The Incidental Economist, Read the Fine Print Before You Burn Your Obamacare Card. It is a response to FreedomWorks and other conservative groups who are trying to undermine Obamacare by getting young people to refuse to sign up. This is beyond cynicism: this is straight out villainy.
Look at what they are trying to do. The fundamental idea behind Obamacare is shared risk: by requiring all Americans to carry health insurance, the risk pool is larger so costs go down. The conservatives are trying to get the healthiest (young) people to opt out of the program. This would, in theory, poison the risk pool and increase costs. And look at who would pay those increased costs. Individuals with employer-provided health insurance would pay more. Those buying insurance on the exchanges would pay more. And the government (that is: all taxpayers) would pay more than they otherwise would for programs like Medicaid.
Meanwhile, those who FreedomWorks would have opt out, would also suffer. As McIntyre noted, open enrollment is only three months per year. So it isn’t like young people could just opt in as soon as they had need. What’s more, their use of emergency rooms rather than normal doctors visits would increase the health costs of the nation.
Now is the time that we hear from conservatives that everyone has health insurance because you can, as indicated in the last paragraph, “Just go to the emergency room! It’s free!” But it is most definitely not free. This was exactly what libertarian idiot Michael Cannon was tweeting out last week. Harold Pollack countered this nonsense brilliantly:
What all of this shows is that the conservative movement in this country really does not care about the health and welfare of the people. There seems to be no amount of harm that is too much to stop them from seeking political advantage. And Obamacare is, as I’ve written again and again, a conservative program! The only reason that Republicans and their allies are against it is because Obama was for it. In the name of scoring a political point or two, they would encourage people to put themselves in unnecessary danger.
Of course, it is far worse than that. Aaron Carroll at The Incidental Economist wrote about a Wall Street Journal editorial, Death Panels in Oregon. Oregon, as they have done for years, is planning to limit care that isn’t effective. When I lived there, for example, they de-prioritized the treatment of babies born without brains (Anencephaly). According to the WJS, this is an outrage! Strangely, limiting treatment is terrible, but simply denying it to millions of people is a-okay. Carroll responded:
But that is the conservative movement in a nutshell. There is much talk about how the Republican party spawned a base of voters who they now can’t control. But there is a similar problem with the conservative media outlets and think tanks. They make no sense. They spew up thoughtless editorials and reports that demonstrate that the movement itself doesn’t believe in any of the things that they claim to believe in. It is just a status quo party meant to make the wealthy ever richer. Added to that is pandering to social conservatives so that they have enough people to get elected. The rich get all the branches of government and the social conservatives get the judiciary. (Strange how socially conservative judges are always pro-business!) And other than these two aspects of their base, they don’t care at all about this country or its people.