One of the most common questions I am asked during Unraveled events is whether the architects of Obamacare intended the law to fail–or unravel–so it would set the stage for single payer health insurance. My answer is a qualified no. The arrogant central planners behind the law sincerely thought that they could make a dynamic marketplace work with just the right amounts of government intervention–they really did. But, they recognized if they were wrong, the only alternative would be national health care. In this sense, Obamacare–not even through its third year–is already unraveling, way aead of schedule.
In a new piece in National Review, I explore this dynamic, and what is likely to come next:
The Affordable Care Act was never designed to be a permanent solution. Obamacare’s architects predicted that the law’s success would prove the government could be trusted to federalize health care, paving the way for a single-payer system. Reality has not been kind to their best-laid plans: Faced with failing exchanges and fleeing insurers, President Obama has urged Congress to “revisit a public plan to compete alongside private insurers.” Make no mistake: This is not a “tweak” or “reform,” but a grudging admission that Obamacare has unraveled way ahead of schedule.
MIT Professor and Obamacare mastermind Jonathan Gruber predicted that whether the law succeeded or failed, the end result would be the same. On one hand, Gruber argued that a successful implementation of the ACA would build confidence and support for nationalized health care, assuring liberals that “if you like single payer, then Obamacare has to succeed.” On the other hand, he warned that the ACA was “the last, best hope for private insurance,” and that if it didn’t work, we would “have to rip it up” and “revisit some kind of single-payer system.” Heads I win, tails you lose. (Indeed, through Wikileaks we’ve recently learned of Hillary Clinton’s active supports for a revision that “begins the unraveling of the ACA.”) Unsurprisingly, after only three years, Obamacare is currently spiraling down the latter pathway. In a brief moment of candor, former-president Clinton called the ACA’s collapse “the craziest thing in the world,” and lamented that people who liked their insurance have found their “premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.” The law wasn’t supposed to implode so quickly. Its success was supposed to pave the way for advocates to enact universal health care in five or ten years, but that didn’t pan out. So now, never letting a crisis go to waste, President Obama and Hillary Clinton are prematurely scurrying to back “a public plan to compete alongside private insurers.”
Read the whole thing, and if you’re inclined, buy a copy of Unraveled 🙂