President Obama has begun speaking about his national health care law with a renewed confidence. He seems to think that the electorate will warm up to the legislation. This has thrilled liberals, who have spent the last three years convincing themselves that Obamacare's unpopularity stems from the administration's failure to defend it forcefully. But in a new twist, Obama has decided to co-opt free-market rhetoric to promote his big-government polices.
Here's what Obama had to say to say last Wednesday at a campaign event in Colorado: "Now, let me tell you something, Denver -- I don't think your boss should get to control the health care that you get. I don't think insurance companies should control the care that you get. I don't think politicians should control the care that you get. I think there's one person to make these decisions on health care, and that is you. You should make that decision."
That's a pretty jaw-dropping passage, considering his record of opposing reforms that would give more power to individuals and his support for reforms to quash individual choice.
Let's review: Under the current health care system, bosses do exert a great degree of control over Americans' care, because 150 million Americans obtain health coverage through their employers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In 2008, GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain proposed ending the discrimination in the tax code against individuals who purchase health insurance on their own. This would have made it easier for Americans to purchase whatever coverage they wanted, rather than accept what their bosses chose for them. It also would have allowed Americans to take their policies with them from job to job. Obama blasted the idea as a candidate and rejected it as president.
Another way to give individuals more control would be through expanded health savings accounts. HSAs take power away from insurance companies by allowing individuals to spend tax-free income on health care as they choose to. But Obama undercut health savings accounts in the health care law. Instead, he worked with insurance industry lobbyists to craft a law that imposes a mandate that individuals purchase insurers' products and then subsidizes those purchases to the tune of more than $1 trillion.
The entire thrust of Obamacare is to allow politicians to control the type of health care Americans get. In addition to mandating the purchase of insurance coverage, the law defines what constitutes insurance. So once the law fully kicks in, not only will Americans have to purchase coverage, they'll have to purchase the type of coverage that's been approved by the secretary of health and human services in accordance with the specifications set by the politicians who passed Obamacare.
"I think there's one person to make these decisions on health care, and that is you," Obama said. "You should make that decision." Which is exactly why lawmakers should repeal Obamacare and replace it with an alternative that gives individuals more choices and control over their health care dollars.