The Immorality of Obamacare

Obamacare is in crisis. With insurers unable to balance their books, more and more of them are simply dropping out of marketplace exchanges. As such, Americans find themselves with fewer, less-competitive insurance plans to choose from. Those insurers that have remained under the inaptly named Affordable Care Act now offer fewer treatment options. But that’s not the worst of it. According to the respected analytics firm McKinsey and Company, Obamacare premiums for 2017 are set to skyrocket. McKinsey estimates that premiums in the cheapest coverage plans, catastrophic and bronze, will increase by 17.1 percent and 13.9 percent respectively. That’s more than double the rate of increase between 2015-2016.

This is wrong — and distinctly un-American. The American system established by the Founders more than two centuries ago was supposed to maximize human freedom under law. Obamacare does the opposite. And it is on this basis that I believe Obamacare is immoral.

The law is eroding that quality of health care Americans receive while charging more for the privilege. Across the country, people are losing access to their preferred doctors and treatment plans. With every premium hike, families have less money for the pursuit of happiness. That’s money that would otherwise go toward college funds, vacation savings and home improvement accounts. It means less money for the occasional trip out to dinner, or to the theater or to a sports game.

Yet Obamacare is taking our money without a reciprocal improvement in service. McKinsey assesses that 72 percent of Obamacare silver plan holders will see premium increases in 2016-2017. Silver mid-range plans are a good indicator for the broad health of the law because they tend to be used by Americans who want basic access to care with moderate monthly premiums.

The American system established by the Founders more than two centuries ago was supposed to maximize human freedom under law. Obamacare does the opposite

True, some Americans benefit from Obamacare’s provision of subsidized coverage. But that is only made possible by blowing up the federal deficit In March, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessed that “in 2016 the federal subsidies, taxes, and penalties associated with health insurance coverage will result in a net subsidy from the federal government of $660 billion, or 3.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). That amount is projected to rise at an average annual rate of 5.4 percent, reaching $1.1 trillion (or 4.1 percent of GDP) in 2026. For the entire 2017–2026 period, the projected net subsidy is $8.9 trillion.” CBO also noted that $1 trillion of that $8.9 trillion figure comes from the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. These vast sums add to the federal debt that young Americans will have the burden of paying off. And be under no illusions, the federal debt matters.

Obamacare is especially damaging to younger Americans, largely because the law forces the young to subsidize the premiums of older Americans. Again that matters because money does not grow in pockets. The escalating funds that young Americans are now forced to transfer to older Americans represents the thievery of young opportunity.

Today, rather than address Obamacare’s failures, liberals pursue more socialized medicine. That makes the need for conservative alternatives ever more important.

We need wholesale reform of our health care system. We should introduce direct-from-high-school access to medical school. We should allow qualified foreign doctors to fill primary care gaps in our rural communities. We should also introduce tort reform, force European nations to spend more on U.S. prescription drugs, increase Medicare cost scrutiny for end-of-life prescription drug access and strip away Obamacare’s diktats on coverage. Finally, as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposes, we should offer federal high-risk pools to support those with pre-existing conditions.

And we must be honest. In return for lower premiums, we should admit that higher copays will be necessary to force consumers to shop around for more affordable treatments. At present, the same treatment at two different hospitals often varies in price by thousands of dollars. That economic distortion is breaking America.

Nevertheless, the truth is now abundantly clear. Measured by the testimony of emptied family bank accounts, declining treatment options and future trends, Obamacare is clearly immoral.

Tom Rogan is a foreign policy columnist for National Review, a domestic policy columnist for Opportunity Lives, a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and a senior fellow at the Steamboat Institute. Follow him on Twitter @TomRtweets.