Ezekiel Emanuel, a noted oncologist, has helped advise the Obama administration in its effort to create an economic system larger than France’s economy to distribute health care services to over 300 million people. Together, those facts encapsulate the essence of our federal government: hopelessly overextended, devoid of caution and chock full of hubris. If that isn’t succinct enough to signal the coming disaster that will be Obamacare, then Emanuel’s recent column in the Wall Street Journal should tip the balance.
Coincidentally, the column was about me, or, more appropriately, about a class of the peasantry to which Doctor Emanuel has assigned me. That group, which he calls Young Invincibles, consists of American men under the age of 35 who haven’t purchased health insurance and, worse, don’t think they should.
In a refreshingly honest appraisal, Emanuel admits that Obamacare will virtually self-destruct if my demographic doesn’t come to its senses. The program depends on the full participation of the American citizenry. Every testosterone-soaked Young Invincible who doesn’t sign up for Obamacare will cause prices to increase. The increased prices will drive other citizens away. In the end, Obamacare will serve only the very poor (who pay subsidized rates), the very sick (who are expensive to care for) and the very old.
Emanuel asserts that Young Invincibles have been successfully recruited to sign up for health insurance before. He points to Massachusetts as a model of success. As they say, what works in Boston will work in Las Cruces. But Emanuel omits two crucial facts: 1) the average Massachusetts household income is 20% greater than the national average; and 2) a substantial number of Massachusetts Young Invincibles are graduates of some of America’s most expensive universities. (If Mom and Dad can afford room, board and tuition in Cambridge, they can probably chip in for health insurance.)
So what is Emanuel’s solution?
Oh, it’s simple: Just change the national zeitgeist. He wants everyone to feel a collective responsibility to own health insurance. Through a pan-media, 50-state advertising offensive, Emanuel wants to create a new social norm.
It’s a little hard to imagine. How do you market to a customer who doesn’t want or need your product? I’m assuming that shame or guilt or ostracization would be the punishment for failing to adhere. Try to write a peppy jingle for that 30-second spot.
Ignore how nauseating and incessant that advertising would be. Ignore the lunacy of thinking that adding a new federal bureaucracy would reduce the cost of something. Ignore the idiocy of believing that a society as guilt- and judgment-free as ours could be shamed into anything. Focus on Ezekiel Emanuel’s stunningly honest admission: Obamacare will collapse if this doesn’t work.
Managing American health care will be the largest government effort ever attempted. According to the most recent estimate, it will cost around $2,000,000,000,000 for the first 10 years. And the system will fail if an advertising campaign can’t guilt me into signing up?
Republicans hated Obamacare before it became law. Now, even Democrats are predicting disaster. Ed Haislmaier, a Heritage Foundation health care policy analyst who has been studying Obamacare since 2009, summed it up best as “a construction site where builders, electricians and plumbers just show up and start building without a foreman or a blueprint.” Ezekiel Emanuel is one of Obamacare’s chief architects, and he just announced in the Wall Street Journal that there is a crucial flaw in its foundation. How can anything so universally reviled and precariously designed ever enter the construction phase?
I wasn’t planning on buying health insurance anytime soon. And now that I know that Obamacare will collapse if I don’t? Well, Dr. Emanuel, thanks for making the decision easy.
Yates Walker is a conservative activist and writer. Before becoming involved in politics, he served honorably as a paratrooper and a medic in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.