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Americans Get a Taste of Socialized Medicine

December 2, 2013

It’s no secret that Obamacare is in trouble.  Some have likened it to a beached whale, floundering, and suffocating under its own weight.  A recent CBS poll indicates that just seven percent of Americans want Obamacare kept in place, and that 93 percent believe it should be changed or repealed.

All along, Democrats have played the humanitarian role, arguing that the law provides health insurance for millions who cannot otherwise afford it.  The number they cite varies between 30 to 47 million, roughly 10 to 15 percent of our population.  But the figure becomes a gross exaggeration when we consider that many of those uninsured actually qualify for Medicaid or other assistance.  Millions of them are in the country illegally, and are not about to sign up for health insurance.  Others, for whatever reason, simply don’t want insurance.

The actual number of Americans who benefit from Obamacare is extremely small.  In fact, those seven percent who want the law kept in place may represent the most accurate number of Americans who want health insurance, but cannot buy it.

Ostensibly, to help that small percentage, Democrats have devastated an entire industry and are overseeing the loss and potential loss of insurance for a much larger sector of our population, hard-working Americans who will be left to scramble for new and outrageously expensive policies.  A great number of them will lose their trusted doctors or their hospitals because of limits imposed by those new policies.  The dogged determination of the Democrats, despite those consequences, exposes their true agenda.  They are not humanitarians, but fanatic ideologues, bent on the redistribution of wealth and control over the health care industry.

Obamacare supporters join the chorus of America’s critics, who are being taught that our country is deeply flawed.  They point to European socialist countries and complain that we are the only industrialized nation without universal health care.  They ignore the immense cost of socialized medicine, the ever-increasing taxes needed to support it, and the resulting economic strain on those countries.  They are ignorant of other consequences - the Spartan medical facilities and the exodus of doctors due to wage controls, accompanied by long waits and rationing.  They envision a classless society offering equal, affordable, and quality health care to all citizens, but fail to understand that no country in the world offers that.  The wealthy and well-connected always have access to the best care, even in socialist societies.

They also fail to understand that those other countries are not dealing with 300 million citizens, and they are not governed by our Constitution.  That document does not guarantee health care for everyone, but it does offer something else.  It guarantees freedom from an overreaching and oppressive government.  It protects us, or at least should protect us, from the kind of government intrusion Obamacare represents.

Now Americans are experiencing the effects of government control over health care.  They’ve gotten their first taste of socialized medicine, and they don’t like it.  They now understand the injustice of requiring all citizens to insure themselves against certain health issues they will never experience.  They see the absurdity of compelling private companies to insure against something that already exists.  Those with pre-existing conditions face financial hardship and need our help, but forcing insurance companies to offer them the same policies offered to healthy customers drastically increases premiums for everyone and can only lead to bankruptcy for insurance companies.

So instead of asking why we don’t have universal health care or why the new website still doesn’t work, we should be asking more relevant questions:  Does this law help or hurt most Americans?  In a free society, does government have the right to compel its citizens to buy something - anything?  When did we abandon those principles upon which our country was founded?

Obamacare is still alive.  It’s like a wrecking ball the instant before it strikes its target.  The worst is yet to come, and there’s no stopping it.  And as more Americans see their health plans shattered, Democrats do what they do best.  They blame others, like the insurance industry.  And incredibly enough, they blame Republicans, who have opposed this law from the beginning.  In desperation, Democrats are stooping to new lows.  They exempt favored and select segments of society from Obamacare, they tinker with the Senate rules to weaken the opposition party, and in a particularly cunning and cowardly move, they are delaying key provisions of the law, hoping to win reelection before more chaos unfolds.

Everyone agrees that all Americans should have access to health care, and there are real problems to solve in the insurance industry, including rising premiums, pre-existing medical conditions, and unfair practices by insurance companies.

Democrats have falsely argued that Obamacare will solve these problems.  They remain determined to force-feed measured doses of socialized medicine to Americans until they learn to like it.

The national outrage over this has paved the way for Republican gains in the midterm elections.  They can close the deal with voters if they can offer an alternative to Obamacare that helps the uninsured and protects consumers without crippling an industry.  If they fail in 2014, we’ll all learn what it’s like to live under a single-party system, and we’ll just have to learn to savor the taste of socialized medicine. 

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Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published online and in print.