The reporters and editors at the New York Times, which is rapidly losing its influence and market value, have decided it is time to tell all the flyover states in the country how they should be run. This comes as no surprise, nor does the policy battle chosen as the latest ideological hammer with which to bat the unenlightened rubes over the head: health care.
In an op-ed Friday titled “A Population Betrayed,” the editorial board of the New York Times opined that eight million low income Americans lack health care insurance not as a direct consequence of the poorly designed and incomprehensible Obamacare law but instead because of those mean Republicans.
“It is outrageous,” they wrote, “that millions of the poorest people in the country will be denied health insurance because of decisions made mostly by Republican governors and legislators. These people will neither qualify for their state’s Medicaid program for the poor nor for subsidized coverage on new insurance exchanges that are being established in every state by the health care reform law.”
When the Supreme Court ruled that the major features of Obamacare were constitutional last year, they also ruled that the law’s provision that mandated state governments expand Medicaid to cover a greater percentage of the residents of their states was unconstitutional. States, the Court ruled, could opt to increase Medicaid coverage, but the federal government could not force them to do so.
Not surprisingly, 26 states have so far chosen to opt out of expanded Medicaid coverage for residents of their state who have more income than those currently eligible for Medicaid. The federal government offered the short term financial carrot of reimbursing the states for 100 percent of the increased costs for three years. States wisely have dodged this financial trap, noting that when the federal carrot is taken away in the fourth year, they would be responsible for the overwhelming financial burden of paying for the health care of these new beneficiaries.
The Times notes, “Every state in the Deep South except Arkansas has rejected expansion, as have Republican-led states elsewhere.” Citing it’s own reporting, the NYT adds that “two-thirds of the country’s poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers and more than half of the uninsured low-wage workers live in those states.”
Even with the passage of Obamacare, the Times complains “that eight million Americans who are impoverished and uninsured will be ineligible for help of either kind. To add to the insanity, people whose incomes initially qualify them for subsidies on the exchanges could — if their income fell because they lost a job — end up with no coverage at all.”
The social engineers at the Times conclude with a full rejection of the fundamental principle of federalism on which our constitution is anchored. “States like New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee that are still flirting with the idea of expansion,” they argue, “should do the right thing and expand.” Further, those “[s]tates that have adamantly refused to expand should relent,” they state. Failing that, “Congress could surely find ways to make certain that the people most in need of help get it.”
It is unfortunate that no one on the editorial board of the New York Times shows any comprehension of the moral superiority of an economic system of free markets operating in a constitutional republic. More than 60 years ago in 1946, Henry Hazlitt, at the time the New York Times’ top writer on economic and financial issues, wrote a classic book, Economics in One Lesson. It explained, in terms simple enough for even the current editorial board at the Times to understand, why free markets, rather than centralized government planning, always produces the optimal economic outcome for the vast majority of a country’s population.
The Reagan Revolution of the 1970s and 1980s was based on the principles of free markets, constitutionally limited government, and fiscal responsibility the intellectual leaders at the New York Times once embraced and Henry Hazlitt so eloquently expressed. The contemporary Tea Party movement is based on those same principles.
The editorial board of the Times is correct in stating the current implementation of Obamacare has led to “insanity” in America’s health care system. Henry Hazlitt, were he alive today, would be quick to point out it is an insanity of their own making. It would be an even greater insanity for the 26 state governments who have rejected expanding Medicaid coverage to bow to the wishes of the editorial board of the Times and accept the financially disastrous orders the federal government has attempted to impose on them.