Democrats understand that when they are losing a political fight, their best move is to change the political lexicon. When progressivism fails, they become liberals; when liberalism fails, they become progressives. Now they’re using that rhetorical trickery to try to save the wildly unpopular centerpiece of President Obama’s first term: Obamacare.
Obamacare sets up what were originally termed state health care “exchanges.” These “exchanges” were supposedly set up to pool risk between health care insurance companies. Of course, if the market saw a benefit in such pooling, it would have done so already. In fact, many insurance companies already pool risks to broaden their enrollment.
But pooling risk isn’t the Obama administration’s real agenda. Actually, the exchanges are meant to pay insurance companies to implement Obamacare. In order to qualify for the exchanges, insurance companies can only charge certain prices and must cover certain services. But that means that the government – i.e. taxpayers – must subsidize the exchanges to make them work. If states refuse to set up the Obamacare exchanges, the federal government is supposed to set up its own exchanges, making that cost federal.
Freedomworks has led the charge in explaining that if state refuse to set up exchanges, Obamacare is dead on arrival. The federal government cannot absorb the $10 billion to $100 billion cost per year per state of the exchanges. And if there are no state or federal exchanges, there is nothing for the IRS to enforce – the employer mandate “tax” cannot be implemented if there is no exchange available.
The Obama administration now recognizes the danger of their self-created “exchange” problem. So they have a solution: exchanges will now be termed “marketplaces.” Freedomworks director of healthcare policy Dean Clancy says the terminology shift shows that Obamacare is in serious trouble: “I think the patient-centered care movement can chalk up a minor victory here. If they’re trying to re-label, it means they’re flailing …. They could call them motherhood or apple pie, but it wouldn’t change our feelings about them.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).