Obamacare Back Stories

The U.S. Supreme Court has again upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this time on the grounds that the plaintiff states lack standing to make the case, not on its constitutional merits or practical worthiness. That calls for some review of the way the ACA actually functioned. 

In California, the ACA created eligibility issues and the Covered California website, like its federal counterpart, was totally dysfunctional. Enrollees wound up terminated from their plans and owing money to the government. State health bosses blamed the problems on computers and escaped accountability. All told, as health journalist Emily Bazar reported, the system led to “widespread consumer misery.” Nobody in any state was pining for something like that. 

Obamacare is the initiative of the president who promised to “fundamentally” transform the United States of America. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said Congress had to pass the bill “so you can find out what’s in it.” President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” but that was dubious, to say the least. 

Obamacare allowed existing plans to be grandfathered in, but as Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler reported, the people who got coverage through a grandfathered plan dropped from 56 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2013. That was because “rules written by the president’s aides that were designed to make it difficult for plans to remain grandfathered for very long.” It was debatable whether the ACA plans were better, but possible that they were “more expensive.” 

The president’s claim that you could keep your plan, to put it mildly, was an untruth. In his fundamentally transformed America, the people get only the care the government wants them to have. Obamacare is essentially the demolition of personal choice in health care and the codification of inequality. 

As Americans might recall, Obamacare does not apply to federal employees. Those enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plan, whether employees, retirees or dependents, get to keep that coverage. So it makes sense that the Supreme Court, in effect a robed politburo, would authorize a program they do not have to endure. As the late Frank Zappa said, the folks in Washington look out for number one, and “you ain’t even number two.” 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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