Leave Obamacare alone

Just let it crash and burn on its own. That is at least preferable to the GOP proposal to place it under new ownership being pushed by Paul Ryan and Donald Trump.

The Trump supporters who railed against the ‘GOPe’ should be angrier than the rest of us, since the Art of the Trumpcare Deal strongly suggests the GOPe is still in charge.

Actually, following the script of redefining subsidies into tax credits and claiming there’s a real difference, maybe we should rename GOPe. Call it GOPino. Actually, it’s arguable that there is nothing significant left of the GOP, anyway.

Here’s a partial list from Jeffrey Tucker of things health care reform should accomplish. Not one of them is in the GOPino proposal.

  1. Government should not be determining what is or must be insured. That should be up to the consumers to decide.
  2. Government should not interfere in contractual relationships between providers and purchasers of insurance, whether individuals or businesses.
  3. Prices for medical services need to be completely decontrolled, and the convoluted market-rigging by a conspiracy of providers, insurers, and government welfare bureaucracies must be ended.
  4. Government should not mandate coverage by employers or privilege employer-provided coverage over individually purchased coverage. Third-party payment should be an option.
  5. Government should not mandate that insurers accept all comers at the same price; that system makes a mockery of the whole idea of insurance itself.
  6. Discrimination for “pre-existing conditions” should not be a criminal act but rather a rational consideration for determining premiums.
  7. Government should not restrict who gets to try their hand at providing insurance; entry and exit need to be competitive too.
  8. Government should never force anyone to pay for a service that he or she does not want. You say coverage is a human right? It’s a human right for a person to refuse coverage.
  9. If you want to get serious about fixing the system, the byzantine pharmaceutical system has to go. Again, let the consumers decide, and, while we are at it, there should be complete free trade in medicine.
  10. The 100-year old medical credential monopoly that has so severely restricted entry into the profession should be dismantled. The market is fully capable of assuring quality, and remember too that there is not one definition of quality.

Those are all fixes to problems big government created. Rather than address that, Trump and Ryan are saying if we don’t pass Trumpcare it will hurt Republicans. Ryan:

“I do believe that [2018 will be a “bloodbath” for Republicans] if we don’t keep our word to the people who sent us here, yeah,” Ryan told CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” when asked if he agreed with Trump’s reported comments about the 2018 midterm elections.

Who cares?

I do believe he’s right, but not in the way he thinks. This only makes sense in a Clintonian world where the definitions of “keep” and “word” depend on the meaning of the word “is.”

Trump’s Voters Have Been Betrayed on Healthcare, Bigly.

So has everyone else.

Joe Wilson Day

Before a September 9th, 2009 joint session of Congress, President Obama declared, “Now, there are also those who claim that our [Obamacare] reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false,” Obama said. “The reforms I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

In response, Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” at the president. Joe Wilson was right, so today is “Joe Wilson Day” at TOC:

Wall Street Journal, Mar 2016, Illegal Immigrants Get Public Health Care, Despite Federal Policy.

Since that article is paywalled, I’ll direct those of you without a WSJ subscription to Forbes’ account of it:
Because Of Obamacare, Illegal Immigrants Get Taxpayer-Financed Care

[N]o honest person can deny that because of Obamacare, more taxpayer resources at the state and local level are being spent on health care of illegal immigrants than would have been spent otherwise…

And they’re moving to formalize it:
California Moves Toward Extending Obamacare to Illegal Immigrants

SCOTUScare

King v. Burwell and the Law
by YUVAL LEVIN

Emphasis mine.

[Chief Justice Roberts] makes a much broader argument about the relationship between the vague, broadly stated aims and purposes of legislators and the role of judges interpreting the meaning of the particular laws those legislators then write…”

Obamacare is [to the Chief Justice] not so much a particular law as an overarching desire “to improve health insurance markets” and so if at all possible it should be taken to mean whatever one believes would be involved in doing so…

This understanding of the role of the judge threatens to undermine the rule of law in the American system of government, because it undermines the central place assigned to written law, and to the legislator, in that system… While it would seem to suggest that the will of the legislator should guide the system, in fact it means that the word of the legislator does not govern the other branches. It implies that Congress should have just passed a law that said “health insurance markets shall be improved,” and then left it to the executive agencies to decide how they wish to do that…

Roberts’s argument… suggests that when a law as written would be likely to have practical consequences at odds with the broadly asserted intent of its authors, judges should interpret it to have a meaning more likely to achieve that desired goal…

The health-care debate, in the context of which this case might originally have been understood, will continue because what Justice Roberts insists is impossible is true: Obamacare is a law that was intended to improve insurance markets but was designed in a way that will actually harm them. We can only hope that debate will ultimately be resolved in a way that also pushes back against the unexpected implications of this case and this decision by reasserting the supremacy of the law.

Read the whole thing.

The Chief Justice has twice approved the government takeover of one-sixth of the American economy. Now he’s concerned about disrupting “markets?” He expresses that concern by elevating “intent” above the rule of law?

Obamacare, passed using procedural chicanery, by a single party whose members hadn’t read it, was intended to dupe the American people. With John Roberts it succeeded beyond Jon Gruber’s wildest dreams. Gruber laughed about the “stupidity” of the American voter. He must be guffawing about John Roberts.

The “law,” whatever it turns out to be after the next executive order or SCOTUS interpretational creativity, should hereafter be known as SCOTUScare.

They had good intentions

That is how Chief Justice John Roberts justified Obamacare:

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
-Chief Justice John Roberts, author of the SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell

There are good reasons to believe this decision will neither improve health care markets, nor avoid destroying them. The majority decided this case based on their perception of the intent of Congress, despite compelling evidence to the contrary.

  1. The intent of Democrats in Congress – the only people who voted for it – cannot be known in this regard since they did not read the Bill.
  2. Jonathan Gruber, the main government architect of the law, says the intent was to fool the American people. And, specifically, by forcing the States to participate or lose the subsidies.
  3. Obamacare has utterly failed to improve insurance markets. It has made insurance companies rich, at great cost to the people.
  4. An argument advanced by those who passed the Bill is that Obamacare is intended to further the destruction of the “market,” so as to institute a government run single-payer system akin to that of Canada.

Justice Roberts, and his 5 comrades, have severely damaged the rule of law.

The "law of the land" is whatever Obama says it is

president Obama today issued an imperial edict administrative order not to enforce some parts of Obamacare that have recently embarrassed him and his party. When the Congressional Republicans suggested doing this by actually passing legislation, the Democrats said Republicans were a bunch of “hostage takers,” “extortionists” and “political terrorists” who wanted to suspend “the law of the land.” As if anyone can tell what that is any longer.

The president has routinely abrogated the law: He suspended Obamacare’s employer mandate, refused to enforce the defense of marriage act, arbitrarily cancelled contracts held by auto-company bondholders, ordered American citizens killed without due process, conducted war in Libya without even Congressional input and instructed his minions to cease enforcing immigration laws. When this president unconstitutionally seizes the power of the legislature, Democrats don’t see any hostages, extortion, or terrorism.

The president’s latest arbitrary whim is bad news for insurance companies. Because insurers do not have time to arrange to violate the law he has just waived, the president undoubtedly will blame them for having complied with it.

Update, 5:20PM:

Two Democrat insurance commissioners reject Obama’s Obamacare fix:

State [Washington] rebuts Obama plan to allow old health insurance policies

Oregon insurance commissioner says state won’t delay 2013 health coverage cancellations

They know the Obama decree can’t work. In fact, Oregon’s state exchange doesn’t work at all, and has enrolled zero people thus far. The president’s about face would just make it worse. Everybody except our pathologically narcissist president knows it.

His organizing has gone a community too far.