Be­ware the Oba­macare in­dus­trial com­plex

Its litany of lies are re-sur­fac­ing, and con­sumers will pay the price

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - By Stephen Moore Stephen Moore is a se­nior fel­low at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and an eco­nomic con­sul­tant with Free­dom Works.

The dan­ger of a Repub­li­can bailout of Oba­macare is mount­ing with ev­ery pass­ing day. A group of “mod­er­ate” Repub­li­cans call­ing them­selves the Prob­lem Solvers Cau­cus is qui­etly ne­go­ti­at­ing with Demo­cratic lead­ers Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to throw a multi­bil­lion dol­lar life line to the Oba­macare in­sur­ance ex­changes.

This bailout, of course, would be an epic be­trayal by a Repub­li­can party which has promised to re­peal and re­place the fi­nan­cially crum­bling Obama health law.

Repub­li­cans who are “ne­go­ti­at­ing” this bi­par­ti­san deal, such as Sen. La­mar Alexan­der of Ten­nessee, ob­ject to the term “bailout” for this res­cue pack­age. The left prefers the eu­phemism “sta­bi­liz­ing the in­sur­ance mar­ket.” The Wash­ing­ton Post’s left-wing fact checker, who just can’t seem to get his facts straight, says “bailout” is mis­lead­ing pe­jo­ra­tive lan­guage. The Post claims this is merely a pay­ment to low in­come fam­i­lies to help pay for the es­ca­lat­ing pre­mi­ums un­der Oba­macare. These pay­ments were al­legedly al­ways part of the law as passed.

The hypocrisy here is tow­er­ing. These are the same peo­ple who told us over and over again that Oba­macare was going to “bend the cost curve of health care down.” These are the same peo­ple who promised that Oba­macare was going to “save” the av­er­age fam­ily $2,500 a year in lower in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums. (If Oba­macare were low­er­ing in­sur­ance costs not rais­ing them, there would be no need for these bailout funds in the first place.)

These were also the same peo­ple who swore to us that Oba­macare wasn’t going to raise the fed­eral deficit by a dime. Oh re­ally. Where is the $10 to $20 bil­lion to pay for this new fed­eral sub­sidy going to come from? Pixie dust?

In­ci­den­tally, is there even one sin­gle prom­ise of Oba­macare that has been kept after seven years?

So why is ev­ery­one sud­denly ral­ly­ing for an Oba­macare bailout? Why aren’t they de­mand­ing more con­sumer choice, an end to the odi­ous in­di­vid­ual man­date, re­peal of the tax in­crease, and ex­panded health sav­ings ac­counts? The an­swer is sim­ple. The new health law has given rise to an Oba­macare in­dus­trial com­plex. The health sys­tem is now like a co­caine junkie hooked on fed­eral pay­ments.

This ad­dic­tion ex­plains why the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are lob­by­ing fu­ri­ously for these funds along­side their new found friends at left-wing in­ter­est groups like Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress. The irony of this al­liance is that the left-wing al­lies the in­sur­ers have united with hate in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and want to abol­ish them. The in­sur­ance lobby is sell­ing rope to their hang­man.

Hos­pi­tal groups, the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, the AARP and groups like them are on board too. They are joined by the Catholic Bish­ops and groups like the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion and the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion. (If you are do­nat­ing money to any of these groups you might want to think again.) This multi-bil­lion dol­lar health in­dus­trial com­plex has only one so­lu­tion to ev­ery Oba­macare crack-up: more reg­u­la­tion and more tax dol­lars.

For ex­am­ple, the Oba­macare in­dus­trial com­plex ar­gues that there was an in­no­cent mis­take in the Oba­macare law as writ­ten (imag­ine that, maybe next time they will read the bill be­fore they vote on it) and that these bail-out funds to Oba­macare were in­tended to be au­to­matic en­ti­tle­ment pay­ments that would not have to be ap­pro­pri­ated by Congress.

The Oba­macare lobby is sali­vat­ing over that idea. Ev­ery year the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies would get fat­ter and fat­ter checks from the gov­ern­ment no mat­ter how much Oba­macare costs es­ca­late. Is this what the “Prob­lem Solvers” in Congress re­ally want? Fi­nan­cial ac­count­abil­ity would be thrown out the win­dow and Oba­macare would be­come an ap­pendage of Med­i­caid with ex­plod­ing costs and a blank check from tax­pay­ers.

This year the best es­ti­mate is that Oba­macare will need at least $10 bil­lion more to keep the sys­tem sol­vent. The death spi­ral in the pro­gram is get­ting more dire with ev­ery pass­ing month, so it’s highly pre­dictable these costs will ratchet up to $20 bil­lion next year and more in the years that fol­low.

You can call this a bailout or just a swin­dle of tax­pay­ers who were fed a litany of lies about Oba­macare’s virtues from the very start. Ei­ther way tax­pay­ers get shafted (again) and the Oba­macare in­dus­trial com­plex gets fat and happy. If Repub­li­cans are part­ners to this fis­cal crime, they are as cul­pa­ble as the Democrats who passed this turkey in the first place and they cer­tainly don’t de­serve to be the gov­ern­ing party.

ILLUSTRATION BY HUNTER

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