Speaking of the political process, that’s where the battle now returns — and that’s where it belongs. As conservatives, we don’t want Congress running roughshod over the Constitution — that why today’s Commerce Clause ruling is so important. But by the same token, we greatly prefer that political decisions be made by us through the democratic process rather than being imposed upon us by the courts.
It is now up to us to persuade our fellow Americans what most of them already know: that Obamacare is a disaster that will harm us all, especially the most vulnerable in society. That the legislation’s appalling design flaws will drive more and more people into government-subsidized health care. That the resulting financial strain will burden our economy with increased taxes, increased debt and lower growth. That care will inevitably be rationed, and people will have less incentive to go into medicine and to develop new life-saving devices and procedures. That the long-term care program under Obamacare, which was supposed to supply much of the “savings” touted by the bill’s supporters, has already been dropped by the Obama administration because it is actuarially unsound. That the costs of every major entitlement program were grossly underestimated at the time of passage, and that the estimates for Obamacare were distorted by dishonest accounting gimmicks. That Obamacare will cause the health care industry to be micromanaged by bureaucrats, which will greatly benefit lobbyists but will inevitably result in favoritism, cronyism, corruption and mismanagement. That the favoritism is already well underway: well over a thousand waivers have been granted, largely to unions and others that supported Obamacare (but don’t want to live by it themselves). That Obamacare will continue to cause health insurance premiums to rise and will continue to reduce choice by driving insurers out of the market. That Obamacare imposes many disincentives to create jobs for those who need them the most, including a significant penalty for small businesses to grow above 50 workers. That if we continue to act like adolescents, and cheer at the government giving us free goodies without caring how they’re paid for (free preventive care, yay!), our government will eventually become too broke to protect the most vulnerable in society. That Obamacare is a massive new entitlement program that arrives at a time when, according to the president’s own debt commission, we’re being driven to fiscal ruin by the entitlement programs that we already have.
I devote an entire chapter to Obamacare’s design flaws in my book. But it’s not enough to point out how wrongheaded Obamacare is. Conservatives have to propose alternatives that empower people — especially poor people — to act as health care consumers rather than wards of the state; that enable people to save money by making the right choices and consuming health care wisely; that require insurance companies to compete, abolishing a status quo in which they’ve lobbied states to limit competition; that prevent slick trial lawyers like John Edwards from manipulating juries with their phony charm, which in turn drives up costs for all of us. Conservatives have come forward with excellent ideas for ensuring universal access to health care. One proposal is to replace employer tax breaks for health care with a voucher that would make basic coverage affordable to all. Another proposal would use subsidized exchanges to ensure that those with pre-existing conditions can access health coverage; unlike the exchanges under Obamacare, these exchanges would not be hamstrung by federal micromanagement and hence consumers would benefit from genuine competition.
The battle to make health care affordable and universally accessible is now back where it belongs: in the political arena. If we cannot convince our fellow Americans that our ideas are better than that disaster called Obamacare, then we deserve what we’re going to get.
David B. Cohen served in the administration of President George W. Bush as U.S. Representative to the Pacific Community, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior and as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He is the author of Left-Hearted, Right-Minded: Why Conservative Policies Are The Best Way To Achieve Liberal Ideals.