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Conservatives Are Squirming (and Capitulating) on Obamacare


For the last seven years, conservatives have had a field day complaining about Obamacare and calling for its repeal. The anti-Obamacare pabulum has been great for garnering donations to conservative organizations and Republican candidates.

What conservatives never figured on, however, was that Republicans would end up winning both houses of Congress and the presidency. Now that that has happened, conservatives are squirming — even panicking — over what to do now, especially since the news media is hitting them with reality — that repealing Obamacare is going to leave millions of Americans uninsured and faced with ever-increasing healthcare costs. That means, possibly, losing votes at election time.

As I have been writing for the past seven years, even if conservatives succeeded in repealing Obamacare, what good would it do? The nation would still be faced with a monumental healthcare crisis — the healthcare crisis that precipitated the enactment of Obamacare.

Remember: the enactment of Obamacare did not arise in a vacuum. It arose as a direct result of a healthcare crisis, one that entailed ever-increasing healthcare costs and medical insurance premiums. People could no longer afford to keep their insurance and then were faced with the prospect of bankruptcy-producing healthcare costs.

And that’s precisely where we are today. Conservatives are being hit with reality: If they repeal Obamacare, they are still faced with the same huge healthcare crisis that led up to Obamacare.

So, what do Republicans do now?

If they leave Obamacare intact, they lose any shred of credibility they have left.

If they repeal it, they have the same crisis that led up to Obamacare.

If they enact some reform variation of Obamacare, which is the most likely thing they’ll do, they end up endorsing their own Obamacare variation that is based on coercion, mandates, and tax manipulations. And they will end up with the same types of healthcare crises Obamacare has given us, which will move us further down the road toward a full government takeover of healthcare, like in Cuba — something that would make many liberals extremely happy.

Think back to the 1950s and 1960s. Did people have healthcare insurance? Most did not, except possibly to cover catastrophic illnesses whose costs of treatment would be exorbitant, like cancer or heart disease. When people went to the doctor, they just paid the bill just as they paid the bill when they went to the cleaners and the grocery store. That’s because everything was reasonably priced.

Moreover, the United States had the finest healthcare system in history — one based on private property and free markets, with minimal governmental interference. Doctors absolutely loved what they did in life. Healthcare was reasonably priced, and physicians did well financially. Many of them treated the poor for free.

Everything changed with the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid during the Lyndon Johnson regime. Healthcare costs went on a perpetual upward trajectory. Today, many doctors hate what they do and can’t wait to get out of the profession.

Statists say that it’s just a coincidence that healthcare costs started rising after Medicare and Medicaid were enacted. That’s just plain denial and balderdash, a refusal to accept what socialism does to a nation. With free or subsidized healthcare and with ever-increasing doctors on the government dole, people began getting treatment for all sorts of things that they wouldn’t have been willing to pay for on their own. And doctors began ordering all sorts of tests that they wouldn’t have ordinarily ordered. When it is the government that is doing the paying, demand (and fraud) skyrockets, with ever-rising prices being the result.

The problem with liberals is that they love socialism. The problem with conservatives is that long ago, they threw in the towel and made peace with the welfare state. They now believe in Medicare and Medicaid as fervently as their liberal counterparts. And even if secretly some of them don’t, they are much too scared to come out and publicly call for an immediate repeal of these two socialist pillars of the welfare state. They’re too scared that the media and others might not take them seriously.

And so, conservatives are now stuck. They just don’t know what to do. One thing is for sure: There are ever fewer grandiose calls to repeal Obamacare. It’s as amusing as it is tragic.

There is but one solution to America’s healthcare woes: a healthcare system totally based on the principles of individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government, which means the end of all governmental involvement in healthcare. That necessarily means the (immediate) repeal of Medicare and Medicaid on the demand side, the repeal of medical licensure on the supply side (as Milton Friedman proposed many years ago), the repeal of all healthcare and insurance regulations, and the repeal of healthcare manipulations the tax code.

When a sufficient number of Americans recapture our heritage of freedom and free enterprise in healthcare, America will be back on the road to restoring the greatest healthcare system in history.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.