Hundreds of thousands of Americans have already lost their health insurance due to Obamacare, and soon millions will have lost it. Conservative commentators have noted that, from all that appears, more people have lost their health insurance than have signed up for plans in health insurance exchanges.
The comparison is specious, however, because those who lose their insurance become new candidates for the exchanges. Indeed, having previously been insured, and in many cases having purchased insurance, they are more likely than the uninsured to want to buy insurance now. They will be counted on to make up the numbers necessary for the exchanges to succeed.
Their loss of insurance, then, is not a flaw in Obamacare. It is an integral part of the overall design.
This was my main takeaway from Megyn Kelly’s interview with Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel (that, and the fact that Emanuel is an unpleasant guy, at least in this context). Emmanuel expressed no regret that folks are losing their health insurance; to the contrary, he seemed pleased.
He defended this attitude on the grounds that the insurance available in the exchanges is much better than the plans that folks are losing, which don’t offer enough coverage to suit Emanuel. But this defense is untenable. If the Obama administration really believed in the overall superiority of the plans on the exchanges, it would allow people to choose between their current insurance plan and the plans being offered on the exchanges.
Emanuel is pleased that folks are losing their insurance not because their insurance isn’t good enough. He is pleased because folks will be driven to pay more for insurance which, in turn, will help subsidize the insurance of others.
Emanuel also argued that millions of people were already losing their insurance under the Bush administration because employers were terminating plans due to rising health care costs. But this, of course, is no reason to design health care reform legislation that exacerbates the trend.
Those who lost their employer-based health insurance during the Bush years had the option of buying health insurance that fit their needs or of buying no insurance, which they could do without being fined. Those who lose their insurance due to Obamacare must (to avoid being fined) buy more expensive plans that meet the needs of the “system,” not themselves.
To be sure, some of those who buy insurance on an exchange will receive subsidy payments. In some cases, they will come out ahead on the deal. There will be winners and losers, as with any redistributionist program.
And make no mistake, that is what Obamacare is, at root — a massive disruption of our health care system in the name of wealth redistribution.
As this reality dawns on Americans, it will likely redound to the disadvantage of Democrats (not that there’s much consolation in this). The winners under Obamacare will be a cohort that already votes overwhelmingly for Democrats. The losers will consist mainly of middle class Americans, whose party allegiance is split.