Critics of Obamacare warned in 2009 and 2010 that the so-called “Affordable Care Act” was merely a “Trojan Horse” that would eventually to a complete government takeover of health care. For that, conservatives were mocked and demonized.
On Monday, President Barack Obama formally embraced the “public option” — a plan that failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate in 2009, and which is widely hailed as a stepping-stone to universal, “single-payer,” state-controlled health care.
Obama published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in which he touts the “progress” made by Obamacare, and endorses the “public option”:
The public plan did not make it into the final legislation. Now, based on experience with the ACA, I think Congress should revisit a public plan to compete alongside private insurers in areas of the country where competition is limited. Adding a public plan in such areas would strengthen the Marketplace approach, giving consumers more affordable options while also creating savings for the federal government.
Ironically, Obama’s article appeared just days after Oregon shut down the last of its insurance co-operatives, the latest in a long string of Obamacare failures.
For Obama and other fans of socialized medicine, however, the empirical results of the policy were never really important. The goal was always to move to a single-payer system — whether by acclimatizing citizens slowly to a state-run system, or by creating new market failures so catastrophic that only a massive government takeover could save the system.
In 2009, Obama claimed that the “public option” — which would have allowed consumers to choose a government-run health plan rather than purchasing private insurance on the Obamacare exchanges — was not a “Trojan House.” He said that was an “illegitimate concern” and claimed his critics were lying.
Yet as Conn Caroll noted, other Democrats revealed the real agenda:
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) at a Health Care for America Now rally: “And next to me was a guy from the insurance company who argued against the public health insurance option, saying it wouldn’t let private insurance compete. That a public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer. My single-payer friends, he was right. The man was right.”
- Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told Single Payer Action: “I think that if we get a good public option it could lead to single-payer and that is the best way to reach single-payer. Saying you’ll do nothing till you get single-payer is a sure way never to get it. … I think the best way we’re going to get single-payer, the only way, is to have a public option and demonstrate the strength of its power.”
- Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein at the Democratic National Convention last year: “They have a sneaky strategy, the point of which is to put in place something that over time the natural incentives within its own market will move it to single-payer.”
- Noble Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman: “[T]he only reason not to do [single-payer] is that politically it’s hard to do in one step…You’d have to convince people completely give up the insurance they have, whereas something that lets people keep the insurance they have but then offers the option of a public plan, that may evolve into single-payer.”
There are many other examples of Democrats admitting that the “public option,” along with other aspects of Obamacare, was a noble lie necessary to fool, or force, the public into socialized medicine. Now, Obama writes in JAMA that his approach from the beginning was to “find common ground between the public and private good and adjust along the way” (emphasis added).
Obama has vindicated his critics — and set the stage for his successor to take the socialist project forward. If she wins.