Warned You Then; Warning You Now

Laura Hollis

By Laura Hollis

Published Oct. 27, 2016

The Closing of the American Mouth

There is plenty of bad news about Obamacare. Premiums are set to skyrocket next year an average of 22 percent (a staggering 116 percent in Arizona). Of the 23 state co-ops that were originally set to operate, 16 have gone bankrupt, and the remaining seven are in dire financial straits. A significant number of major insurance companies, including UnitedHealthcare, Humana and Aetna, have pulled out of most (if not all) of the exchanges on the grounds that the financial losses are unsustainable. (Across the country, insurers have lost billions since 2014.) This leaves an increasing number of consumers with only one or two options to choose from. Most have lost plans and been forced — sometimes multiple times — into other plans, losing physicians in the process.

And there are plenty of writers (Kevin Williamson at National Review, Avik Roy at Forbes, Betsy McCaughey, yours truly) who are saying "we told you so."

It isn't gloating. We warned you. We shouted it from the rooftops. You were told that we were lying, or corporate shills, or that we wanted old people and sick people to die. To the contrary, we saw what was coming and wanted to avoid it.

Yes, there were — and are — legitimate concerns about people without insurance. But the rallying cry of Obamacare — "We have to do something!" — is precisely the wrong impulse. It is that self-imposed desperation that makes you targets for exploitation by every self-important ideologue, every liar, every charlatan.

That is why President Obama was able to lie to you over and over again about keeping your doctor and your plan, and get away with it.

It's why Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber could brag about "the stupidity of the American voter," and adviser Ezekiel Emanuel could argue in favor of bureaucratic rationing of health care, and get away with it.

It's why Congress could pass a 2,000-page bill that not one of the members had read in its entirely, and why then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could infamously say, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it," and get away with it.

Now you know what's in it. Do you still, seriously, want to give these condescending jerks control over your and your family's health care?

The failure of Obamacare was — and is — inevitable. It has nothing to do with people in government being stupid or corrupt (though, yes, you can find those who fit that description). It's just basic economics. Consumers benefit when there are more choices, not fewer. Choices create options and competition. Competition ensures accountability and quality. And then there's the tried-and-true rule of supply and demand: When many people want something for which there is a limited supply, prices increase. When there is a plentiful supply of a good or service, producers have to lower prices to compete.

It is madness, therefore, to insist upon a system that further reduces consumers' options.