Matt Lewis

Fear: ObamaCare will make going to the doctor like going to the DMV

As the government shutdown drags on, it’s probably worth (re)examining the underlying reason conservatives are almost unanimously opposed to ObamaCare (after all, the defund ObamaCare strategy certainly contributed to getting us here.)

This has already been litigated, of course, but the recent ObamaCare website “glitches” serve as a metaphor for what still worries us: That going to the doctor will eventually be like going to the DMV.

At the risk of navel gazing, the easiest way to explain this is to explain my personal aversion to this.

I don’t like being told what to do; I want to be left alone. And I really hate wasting my time. For these reasons, I chose a job that allows for independent work and freedom — and for these reasons, I eat lunch most days at 11:30 — just to beat the crowds.

In short, I have chosen to make sacrifices and trade-offs in order to avoid the things that I despise.

Unfortunately, when I was a child, I didn’t always have this option. I hated school (which felt more like a prison than an educational opportunity), but was still bussed off to this dystopian complex every morning at the crack of dawn. It was mostly a waste of time.

But I suspect that experience taught me some lessons. Governmental bureaucracy, I learned, is almost always sterile, uncreative, and dysfunctional.

School isn’t the only example, of course. Compare the public library to your local bookstore. Compare Fed-Ex to the post office. Compare ObamaCare to … Expedia. Clearly, free market competition forces companies to compete for our business — to build the best products and interfaces. This sort of competition is obviously missing in a one-size-fits-all bureaucracy.

This realization is probably one of the fundamental reasons I’m more conservative than liberal; I want to be treated an adult, and that means enjoying the freedom to make sacrifices (and plot strategies) which permit me to avoid the things I don’t want to do.

And whether it’s public schools, public housing, or public pools, the odds are you don’t want to be there, even if you must. But having to be there is made even less tolerable when you lose hope that you might ever escape this fate.

No matter how little money you may have, you at least want to be able to tell yourself this: “If I can just make a little more money, I can buy my way out of this situation — out of this failing school, rough neighborhood, out of this mediocre health care. In essence, you want to be able to tell yourself: “Look, I may be dealing with a glitchy ObamaCare website today, but I’ll be on the slick iPhone version tomorrow!”

But what happens if more and more companies decide it would be cheaper to drop their health care and put employees on the exchanges? What happens if ObamaCare simply opens the door to a de facto single payer? The fear many of us have is that, eventually, we won’t be able to even aspire to something better, because doing so would be deemed unfair.

If you want to know why almost all conservatives — whether tea party or traditional — truly fear this law, then this is a good place to start.