Here’s How GOP Obamacare Hypocrisy Backfires

Roundup: Historians' Take
tags: Social Security, Obamacare, Medicare



Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation.

The smartest thing yet written about the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s federal exchange program is a post by Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute at his “Rortybomb” blog at Next New Deal.  Konczal makes two points, each of which deserves careful pondering....

Konczal’s second point is even more important — the worst features of Obamacare are the very features that conservatives want to impose on all federal social policy: means-testing, a major role for the states, and subsidies to private providers instead of direct public provision of health or retirement benefits.   This is not surprising, because Obamacare’s models are right-wing models — the Heritage Foundation’s healthcare plan in the 1990s and Mitt Romney’s “Romneycare” in Massachusetts.

This point is worth dwelling on.  Conservatives want all social insurance to look like Obamacare.  The radical right would like to replace Social Security with an Obamacare-like system, in which mandates or incentives pressure Americans to steer money into tax-favored savings accounts like 401(k)s and to purchase annuities at retirement, with means-tested subsidies to help the poor make their private purchases.  And most conservative and libertarian plans for healthcare for the elderly involve replacing Medicare with a totally new system designed along the lines of Obamacare, with similar mandates or incentives to compel the elderly to buy private health insurance from for-profit corporations....




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