Obamacare might be masquerading as a free market approach to providing low-cost coverage, but it’s really a way to force people onto government-run health care. On Sunday night, Hillary Clinton — perhaps for once and by accident — told us the truth.
The Democratic presidential candidates covertly appeared in a televised presidential debate, the fourth and final before the Iowa caucuses next month. Unlike Republicans, who have participated in six debates so far and have one to go before the February 1 caucus, the Democratic National Committee has attempted to shield its presumptive nominee — although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) might have something to say about that — from serious scrutiny of her record, ideas and candidacy. Sunday’s performance by the former Secretary of State showed why the DNC is being so cautious.
President Obama has spent the past seven years insisting that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was not a conduit to government-run health care. After all, the administration was well aware of previous failed Democratic efforts in 1994 to create universal health care through government mandates, and they knew they must convince the public that Obamacare wasn’t that. Obamacare was different, they argued.
Here’s just a sampling of President Obama’s defense of the legislation:
- “Reform will keep the government out of your health care decisions.” (July 23, 2009)
- “This is not some government takeover.” (August 14, 2009)
- “If you’ve got health insurance, it doesn’t mean a government takeover.”
(October 3, 2012)
Predictably, liberal media allies resounded the call. There’s Media Matters, Daily Kos, Huffington Post and Mother Jones all boosting the narrative that Republican fears, shared by a significant majority of the American people, were irrational and unsubstantiated.
Even Politifact reliably went to bat for the administration, giving the notion that Obamacare was “a government takeover of health care” its 2010 “lie of the year.” Naturally.
On Sunday night, Hillary Clinton — perhaps for once and by accident — told us the truth
In just one debate answer, Hillary Clinton undid seven years’ work by the White House, Congressional Democrats and their allies:
“Here’s what I believe: the Democratic Party and the United States have worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Health Care Act passed. We finally have a path to universal health care.”
In just two sentences, Clinton confirms what Republicans have said all along: Obamacare was simply a mechanism to force more Americans onto government-run health care, eventually leading to a single payer system.
There will be some who dishonestly try to differentiate “universal health care” from a public option, a government insurance company that would “compete” with private providers, or even a single-payer system. But, leading Democrats, including Barack Obama prior to his presidency and Clinton herself when she was First Lady, have been vocal about their desire to achieve universal coverage — and never once has there been mention of accomplishing that by ushering every single American onto private insurance. Government has always been at the heart of it all.
Clinton is right: their dream is being realized. As of late 2014, Medicaid enrollments rose by nearly 6.1 million new beneficiaries, mainly comprised of able-bodied, working-age adults. Meanwhile, after the passage of the Affordable Care Act and spending more than $2 trillion over a decade, fewer than 2.5 million new patients enrolled in private health care policies as millions of American families. Nearly all of the movement in health care markets cited repeatedly by the Obama Administration was previously insured families choosing new policies due to rate hikes or benefit changes.
If left in place unhindered, Obamacare is destined to become like the health systems of Europe. It will cause the costs of private insurances to soar through mandates and taxes, thereby pricing it out of the market and forcing millions of American families onto government-run health care. Private insurance will be considered a luxury for those with the means to afford it.
This was the progressives’ goal for American health care after all. They covet the socialized medicine of Sweden (where even the Swedes are shelling out cash for private coverage instead of their government-run system) while ignoring the very factors that make the United States distinct from Sweden (heterogeneity, size, diversity in health challenges and so on).
But the American people aren’t buying it. As of 2012, 54 percent of Americans believed providing health care to the public is not a government responsibility. Thus, the Democrats have gone to great lengths to fool voters into thinking that Obamacare is some sort of private insurance utopia where insurers suddenly issue low-cost policies packed with loads of new benefits. If it seems to be too good to be true, that’s because it is.
Ellen Carmichael is a senior writer for Opportunity Lives. Follow her on Twitter at @ellencarmichael.