The continuing need to oppose Obamacare

cover_130408_tocRamesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin remind National Review readers in the magazine’s latest cover story why conservatives should continue the push to “repeal and replace” the 2010 federal health care reform law.

In short, Obamacare seeks to expand the reach of an inefficient model of health-care coverage, and since markets won’t do so, it avoids them. The law’s basic method is to transform insurance into a product that few would voluntarily buy and then force everyone to buy it. It outlaws insurance as traditionally conceived by requiring insurers to cover everyone on the same terms regardless of his health status — the equivalent of requiring companies to offer homeowner’s insurance at the same price whether or not the home is burning down. Because this regulation removes the incentive to buy insurance, the government then orders people to do it — or, after Chief Justice Roberts amended the law, taxes them for not doing it.

The law also vastly expands Medicaid, which is a crummy form of insurance: Researchers who compare the program’s beneficiaries with people who have no insurance at all often have a hard time finding much of a difference in health. Many doctors do not take Medicaid patients because the program underpays them, and the law does little to improve those patients’ access to care even as it increases their numbers.

Obamacare attempts to cut costs in Medicare by tightening the price controls that have failed to restrain the program’s costs for more than three decades.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...