In his New York Times piece, Kleinke makes a great deal of the fact that Obamacare isn’t Canadian-style single payer. It isn’t “Medicare for all” and it doesn’t contain the public option.
This is akin to arguing that the 1993 Clinton tax increase was conservative because it didn’t bring back 70 percent tax rates.
Nearly every single-payer advocate in Congress voted for Obamacare because they saw it for what it was: an incremental increase in the federal government’s role in health care that sets the stage for more government control in the future.
When Obamacare fails to bring down costs — as the Massachusetts experience, alas, strongly suggests it will — they will clamor for an even bigger government role.
We can only hope conservatives counter by advocating more competition and choice.
Obamacare therefore is not, as Kleinke would have it, a “ratification of market ideas, modified to address problems unique to health insurance.”
It is an invitation to mission creep, a problem endemic in government.
Kleinke’s op-ed degenerates from there into such bromides as, “Social conservatives’ hostility to the health care act is a natural corollary to their broader agenda of controlling women’s bodies.”
Perhaps the conservative case for confiscatory tax rates and partial-birth abortion really isn’t far behind.
The problem is that Republican politicians often don’t care very much about domestic policy in general and health care in particular.
This makes them unlikely to understand how real problems can be solved through free markets rather than bigger government.
Which in turn means they are vulnerable to sales pitches from putatively conservative wonks who expand government more slowly than the Democrats.
Most of the conservatives who pushed the patchwork of mandates, regulations and subsidies that inspired Obamacare ultimately came to the conclusion that this approach isn’t the best way to promote a consumer-based, market-driven medical system.
Politicians are a bit slower.
But just because somebody at a think tank had a bout of brain flatulence in 1989 doesn’t mean we should abandon the Constitution.
In order to cut the government back down to constitutional size, we need better politicians — and they need to get better advice.
W. James Antle III is the editor of The Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow him on Twitter.