Imagine for a moment a world in which one might choose the type of healthcare insurance one wanted. Employers would be free to provide, in whole, in part, or not at all, what healthcare insurance they wished as a perquisite to their employees. Employees would be free to choose from their employer’s plans, or choose their own plans, or choose to self-insure. Employers might choose to supply high-deductible ‘catastrophic’ coverage, low-deductible ‘maintenance’ coverage, less expensive coverage to their non-smoking employees, coverage that excluded well-baby care, or coverage that includes, or excludes, a combination of any number of these and other variants. Christian Scientist, Baptist, and Catholic employers (whether churches, hospitals, schools, or simply adherents) might choose plans that excluded coverage of most illnesses, or of those symptoms and diseases commonly associated with drinking and dancing, or of abortions, contraceptives, and sexual prophylactics, respectively. Imagine a healthcare market that supplies the many kinds of healthcare coverage for which there might be a demand created by both employers and employees at mutually agreed prices. Consider the liberty attendant to the risk of not buying health insurance. At one time, not long ago, this situation existed in America. Such was the freedom associated with our healthcare insurance choices, as they were untrammeled by our national government. Kiss this vision goodbye. As long predicted, we are all about to choke on ObamaCare. Shame on any who believed in the hope and change advertised by Affordable Care Act (ACA). Someday they will understand the well-worn cliché that nothing is as expensive as that which the government seeks to provide free. We truly deserve the government we elect. Shame on the Catholic bishops and organizations who solicited and promoted the passage of this law and who hypocritically whine about the rules and regulations now being promulgated under it. Shame on this president who was well advised not to allow HHS to issue its ruling in the form it did on 20 January and who now believes that an accounting trick will resolve the First Amendment issues that it provokes. Shame on Jacob Lew (the president’s most recent chief of staff) who claimed, during the course of multiple interviews, that the president had not changed his mind on this rule but that the president was simply now disclosing additional details about its implementation. Mostly, shame on us for not understanding that, when we allow legislation like the ACA to pass Congress, we bypass the institutions that mediate between our national government and ourselves. These institutions exist not only to meet our needs in efficient ways, but also to provide us freedom and independence from the type of coercion HHS’s recent rulemaking represents. Rendering such institutions useless by binding them in an intimate, pervasive, financial relationship with our national government simply means they eventually become mere outlets for the giant, monolithic, policymaking machine of that government. Now, let’s take one final trip down memory lane. The primary promise of ObamaCare, according to our president in New Hampshire as late as August 11, 2009, was:
“If you like your health care plan, . . .
. . . you can keep your health care plan.”