One of the facts about Obamacare that seems to be routinely misunderstood is that it is not mainly a way to reduce the number of uninsured in America. It is, rather, a spectacularly large new wealth transfer system that both provides insurance for some uninsured people and subsidizes many others who had been buying their own insurance.
All of it with taxpayer’s money. Did we as a country need really more welfare? Could we afford it? Of course not, to both.
Writing in the National Review today, Michael Tanner of the CATO Institute makes clear the extent to which Obamacare is a scheme to hook people even more deeply on the federal government.
The vast majority of those signing up on the Obamacare exchanges – what could be some 5 to 5.5 million people – are getting assistance with their premiums, even though many are living above and even well above poverty, Tanner writes.
Since most people on the exchanges previously had health insurance, what President Obama’s much-lauded 7 million signup number mainly means is that the federal government is now providing massive new assistance to your fellow citizens:
Subsidies, of course, do not actually reduce the cost of those insurance plans, but simply shift part of that cost from the purchaser to taxpayers. Moreover, since the Rand Corporation estimates that it’s possible as few as 858,000 enrollees were previously uninsured, millions of Americans who were paying for their own insurance have now moved onto the government dole.
Millions more are gaining health insurance by joining Medicaid, raising the number on this raw welfare program by 5.2 percent. How likely are they to ever get off it, especially once employers start dropping health insurance and allow the government to provide it instead.
“In some states, such as West Virginia, Vermont, and Massachusetts, more than one out of every five people will be receiving Medicaid,” he writes.
Of the 3-4 million people new Medicaid recipients, many may have previously had insurance but are now taking your money to pay for it.
No one knows yet how many Obamacare Medicaid recipients dropped private coverage as a result of the ACA, but some data suggest that it could be quite high. For example, a study for the Veterans Administration found that as many as 82 percent of working adults who enroll in Medicaid under Obamacare will have had private insurance.
Obamacare is helping accelerate the trend in the last several decades toward a level of government dependence that is destroying the country’s soul, not to mention its work ethic.
In 1965, just 22 percent of all federal spending was transfer payments. Today the figure has doubled to 44 percent . . .
Transfer payments are almost 35 percent of salaries and wages. If one counts government employees and contractors as well as recipients of government programs, more than half of Americans receive at least half of their income from the government.
If that’s not a Socialist economy, I don’t know what is.