When President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton conceived of a private insurance-based, government-subsidized scheme for medical care, they knew it was only a halfway house toward their ultimate goal: socialized medicine. Obama announced as much. Now Clinton is taking the inevitable next step and backing government-controlled medicine for those over 55.
The Obama-Clinton strategy was always deceptive: Enact a program — Obamacare — that could not work and blame the insurance companies for its failure. Then move it with a recommendation for government-funded medical care — single payer.
Early in the days of his push for Obamacare, the president pushed his fellow Democrats to embrace a "public option" that would put the government-run insurance company into competition with private insurers. After Congress — even with 60 Democrats in the Senate — said no, he embraced his backup plan.
He decided to burden private insurance companies with such ridiculously strict mandates for their coverage that they could not possibly charge affordable premiums. The administration required that of every possible form of medical care — sex reassignment surgery, psychotherapy, drug rehabilitation, mammograms for men and women — so as to raise costs and assure failure.
Obama and Clinton also insisted that insurers cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions and cover all children on their parents' policies up to age 26.
Together these requirements forced insurance companies to charge high premiums and even higher deductibles, just as Clinton and Obama knew they would. As expected, this set in motion a downward spiral — a death spiral — for Obamacare. As premiums and deductibles rose, fewer healthy people signed up and the risk pool became sicker and older, forcing even higher premiums and the deadly spiral continued.
All the while, the Democrats blamed the insurance companies, claiming that they put profits ahead of people. Insurers originally agreed to Obamacare because they were promised an open-ended subsidy to repay any losses they incurred. But Senator Marco Rubio helped close that door when pushed for an amendment into the budget bill banning the subsidies. So the insurance companies were in a trap of their own making.
Now Obama and Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, are swooping in for the kill — demanding that Obamacare give way to socialized medicine. Right now, they are urging it for those over 55, but they could soon eliminate any age requirement.
The costs of their new proposal will be huge, perhaps doubling the 2.9 percent Medicare tax — a payroll tax that all employed Americans pay.
The socialists will be pleased. But we will not be when we learn how government-controlled medicine truncates and limits our options and worsens our medical care.