Conservative Obamacare Bait and Switch

Peggy NoonanThere’s been a bit of discussion of a blog post from Peggy Noonan last week, The High Cost of ObamaCare. Ezra Klein has a full take down of it. Basically, Noonan doesn’t understand how part of Obamacare, Community First Choice, works. So she complains that Obamacare is not doing what Obamacare does do. She says that it should do exactly what it is doing. The horror!

I was very struck by the overall point of the article. According to her, Obamacare is a complicated mess. We should just start over. But how? She explains, “When a thousand things have to be changed about a law to make it workable, some politician is going to stand up and say: ‘This was a noble effort in the right direction but let’s do the right thing and simplify everything, with a transparent and understandable plan: single payer.’ Will that be Mrs. Clinton’s theme in 2016?” Is Peggy Noonan calling for single payer healthcare?

Okay. Okay. Stop laughing. Wipe the tears from your eyes. There’s still a lot of article left to read.

This is clearly a gambit. What Noonan is hoping to do is get liberal support for a repeal of Obamacare. That isn’t a completely insane idea. After all, there are a lot of liberals (Like me!) who really dislike Obamacare. But clearly, what Noonan is hoping is that with the help of liberals, the Republicans can repeal Obamacare. But after it’s gone, Hillary Clinton (for example) wouldn’t have overwhelming majorities in Congress and so we would get the preferred Republican plan: nothing. (Not even the fee for the gaming license.)

I run into a less calculated version of this gambit from conservatives all the time. Especially since Obamacare has become law, the big complaint about it is that it is so complicated. As Noonan says, it has “10 million moving parts.” These conservatives always say more or less the same thing, “Why can’t we have something simple.” And they are open minded about single payer. I don’t doubt that they are genuine in what they claim. (That’s clearly not true of Noonan!) They’ve all been told so much how terrible Obamacare is that they figure single payer could be no worse.

These same open minded conservatives would quickly close their minds to single payer, however. Charles Krauthammer would inform them all of the truth: single payer really is much more socialized medicine than Obamacare was. And suddenly, “complexity” would not be the rationale for opposing healthcare reform. It would instantly switch to something about a homosexual zombie orgy led by Stalin and Hitler.

Always be leery of conservatives who claim to be for reasonable reforms like these. In this specific case, it isn’t that conservatives don’t like Obamacare on the merits. They are just looking for a reason—Any reason!—to block it. The only healthcare “reform” policies that they are for are things that they’ve wanted to do for other reasons for a long time, like tort “reform.” If you think Noonan is disingenuous and hysterical now, just wait until Hillary Clinton proposes single payer. I can just hear her now, “Just because single payer is simple, doesn’t mean this socialist takeover of the healthcare industry is a good idea! At least Obamacare relied on the private sector!”

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Conservative Obamacare Bait and Switch

  1. Great article. I had heard about Krauthammer, but not Noonan.
    You are very smart to see how they are trying to get the Liberals to repeal it.

    So , the best way is to WRITE down the Single Payer first by the Liberals and if the GOP wants to sign on and pass it as a replacement…….then repeal ACA which is ROMNEYCARE.
    BTW is the SINGLE PAYER = MEDICARE ?

  2. @mali bahreman – Absolutely that could be done. They could write a law that replaced the complicated Obamacare with another law. And no Democrat would ever do anything else. And more or less, that will happen. After Obama is out of office, Obamacare will just fade into the background and slowly it will be changed into a better law.

    The whole thing about "it’s so complex" is that the reason it is so complex was because Republicans wanted it that way and the Democrats gave it to them hoping that the Republicans would vote for it. In the end not a single Republican in either the House or the Senate voted for the law.

    Yes, Medicare is single payer for people 65 and over. VA is literally socialized medicine as they have in the UK: the hospitals are owned by the government, the staff work for the government. (BTW: it has its problems, but that is because it is under funded. My father is in his 80s, has had it for decades, and loves it. They do take excellent care of him.)

    Back in 2009, people like me were lobbying for "Medicare for All." It would have been simple. I believe that what will slowly happen is that the Medicare age will be lowered. The insurance companies will decide that the 55+ group really isn’t very lucrative and so they will be added to Medicare. And eventually, we will have Medicare for all.

    I’ve long advocated that the government just buy all of the insurance companies. They make very little money, even though they spend enormous amounts of money denying care.

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