Liberal columnist E.J. Dionne makes an intriguing suggestion in today’s Washington Post. If Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional, he suggests, that could allow the widely disdained law to become more popular. From, “Will We Love Healthcare If It Dies?”
Maybe now, supporters of the ACA will find their voices and point to the 30 million people the law would help to buy health insurance, how much assistance it gives businesses, how it creates a more rational health insurance market, how it helps those 26 and under stay on their parents’ health plans, how it protects those with pre-existing conditions. “Obamacare” isn’t about President Obama. It’s about beginning to bring an end to the scandal of a very rich nation leaving so many of its citizens without basic health coverage. However the court rules, we need to remember why this whole fight started in the first place.
Except, Obamacare isn’t about “basic health coverage.” A “basic” policy would protect people against catastrophic and expensive conditions if they became seriouly ill or injured. A far less sweeping measure could have probably reached that goal on a bipartisan basis.
But that isn’t what the POTUS and the Democrats wanted. They wanted to federalize a huge swath of the economy for political and ideological purposes. Indeed, Obama has already used Obamacare as a method to hand out constituency goodies—at insurance company expense—and wielded the law to create false wedge political issues, a primary reason for the culturally imperialistic Free Birth Control Rule. Obamacare was also a seizing of power. It is part of elevating the already extensive influence of the technocratic class—which is why I worry it will be allowed to stand by the Supreme Court that tends to reflect technocratic thinking. It is also about erecting a bureaucratic state unaccountable to the people. In short, the law is about making us less free.
But Dionne may be right that once the reality of the law is replaced by a romanticized version driven by intense media slant, the then dead law might become more popular. Whichever way it goes, Obamacare will be one of the biggest issues in the coming presidential election. Maybe out of this mess, we will find a way to open greater access to “basic health care” for all—but hopefully without the federal hegemony.