The Federal Government Won’t Get Fixed Until It Breaks
Americans who are stuck with exploding health insurance premiums hate Obamacare. Trump won the election based, in part, on his commitment to “repeal and replace” the program.
Congressional Republicans passed a repeal bill several times during the Obama years. But, somehow, now that they have a president who would actually sign the bill, it ain’t gonna happen!
Instead of simply passing the same repeal, leadership trotted out a “reform” laden with most of the crushingly expensive mandates and big government control that conservatives hated about the Affordable Care Act. It failed when “Freedom Caucus” Republicans insisted on a more genuine reform.
All the sound and fury Republican leaders made about repealing Obamacare signified nothing. They aren’t eager to betray the healthcare lobby, insurance providers, and pharmaceutical companies who worked with Congress to write the law and who paid so handsomely into campaign funds. They would rather betray voters.
The federal government sunk its talons deep into healthcare with the Affordable Care Act, and it will never let go willfully. Perhaps it can be pried loose after the system collapses.
The truth is governments do not voluntarily shrink themselves. Politicians will only get serious about reforms after a crisis forces their hands, not before.
President Trump acknowledged this truth Saturday when he tweeted, "ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!" His assurance would be more comforting if it didn’t mean another year or two (or 10?) of exploding health care premiums and doctors leaving the system.
We can’t and shouldn’t expect proactive solutions from Washington DC. The activist energy, the campaign contributions, and the misplaced confidence fuels a machine whose only output is disappointment.
In fact, conservatives could be blamed for attempting to achieve more meaningful reform. President Trump may be inclined to punish the representatives who did not support the “Obamacare Lite” bill. He tweeted, “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club for Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & O-care!”
Trump should pin the failure on hypocrisy. Republicans, who now control both houses of congress, didn’t put forward the same repeal bill passed in prior years because they aren’t actually interested in eliminating Obamacare.
We’ve seen hypocrisy before. The Tea Party movement during the earlier days of the Obama administration pushed for lower taxes and less spending. Smiling Republican incumbents assured constituents they heard the message of Tea Partiers loudly and clearly. But establishment GOP lawmakers went back to Washington and stuck to business as usual.
It turned out Obama was not the only impediment to downsizing the government. It was the Republican Congressional Majority who enabled every hike in the debt ceiling and ever larger federal budgets. Obama took most of the blame for the massive expansion in government, but congress funded every penny of it. Much of the impetus behind the Tea Party has since dissipated.
Now the reform energy which propelled Donald Trump to the presidency may also be losing strength.
Liberty activists may get more accomplished by focusing on state governments where politicians remain more accountable. Organizations including the Tenth Amendment Center are making real progress on state-level movements to counteract abusive federal laws.
And there are actions individuals can take to shore up their own personal finances.
Health cost sharing plans are emerging as a viable option for people being crushed by skyrocketing insurance premiums. Buying physical gold and silver as a vote for honest money and as a hedge against out-of-control federal borrowing and spending is another.