Don’t Forget OBAMACARE – The Weekly Standard
Don’t Forget Obamacare
SEP 26, 2011, VOL. 17, NO. 02 • BY JAMES C. CAPRETT
Obamacare’s individual mandate—requiring that all Americans purchase government-approved health insurance beginning in 2014—has always been the law’s most vulnerable provision. It is incredibly unpopular, and not just among conservatives. Polls consistently show that a large majority of the electorate opposes it, including a good portion of registered Democrats.
It is not hard to see why. Conservatives worry that the mandate, which compels all Americans to buy a particular product whether they want to or not, involves an unprecedented assertion of federal power. Many middle-of-the-road voters don’t trust the federal government to do anything well, much less decide for one and all the kind of health insurance everyone must purchase.
And liberals can see that the provision creates a guaranteed marketplace for precisely the private health insurers that the president has spent so much time demonizing as greedy, profit-hungry, and patient-abusing miscreants. The president could have used the heavily Democratic Congress of 2009 and 2010 to push through any number of items on the liberal wish list. But he chose to deplete his entire political capital securing a permanent, guaranteed customer base for shareholder-owned private health insurance companies. Ironic indeed.