This article from the Sunday Times by AEI fellow J.D. Kleinke is exceptional for two reasons. For one, it’s an excellent explanation for why conservatives should agree with Obamacare. Second, despite coming from the American Enterprise Institute, an organization that regularly contributes global warming and other conspiratorial nonsense to the WSJ editorial page, it appears to contain nothing but factual information. It’s a good reminder of why liberals have been weak in their defense of the law – it’s really just Federal Romney/Bob Dole care, but also provides a very striking critique of the justifications of conservatives opposing it. Including my favorite argument for why the supposedly free-market system we enjoy now is bogus:
Chief among these obstacles are market limitations imposed by the problematic nature of health insurance, which requires that younger, healthier people subsidize older, sicker ones. Because such participation is often expensive and always voluntary, millions have simply opted out, a risky bet emboldened by the 24/7 presence of the heavily subsidized emergency room down the street. The health care law forcibly repatriates these gamblers, along with those who cannot afford to participate in a market that ultimately cross-subsidizes their medical misfortunes anyway, when they get sick and show up in that E.R. And it outlaws discrimination against those who want to participate but cannot because of their medical histories. Put aside the considerable legislative detritus of the act, and its aim is clear: to rationalize a dysfunctional health insurance marketplace.
This is spot on. The analysis of the possible true motivations for the bile and invective levied at what is essentially a conservative piece of legislation are also stunning coming from a conservative:
Clear away all the demagogy and scare tactics, and Obamacare is, at its core, Romneycare across state lines. But today’s Republicans dare not own anything built on principles of economic conservatism, if it also protects one of the four horsemen of the social conservatives’ apocalypse: coverage for the full spectrum of women’s reproductive health, from birth control to abortion.
Social conservatives’ hostility to the health care act is a natural corollary to their broader agenda of controlling women’s bodies. These are not the objections of traditional “conservatives,” but of agitators for prying, invasive government — the very things they project, erroneously, onto the workings of the president’s plan. Decrying the legislation for interfering in the doctor-patient relationship, while seeking to pass grossly intrusive laws involving the OB-GYN-patient relationship, is one of the more bizarre disconnects in American politics.
This is a rare, clear-eyed, honest, and insightful piece of writing from AEI. Have they turned a corner?