By, Luke Hamilton
Is that really the best they can do? After weeks of taking body blow after body blow, the Obama Administration settled on some new talking points which they feel will deflect the rising tide of hostility directed their way by millions of outraged Americans, dealing with cancelled insurance policies and rising premiums.
“[There are a number of Americans, fewer than 5 percent of Americans, who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident. . . Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received or used minor pre-existing conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy.” – President Obama, October 30, 2013
Parsing the President’s position, it seems that what really upsets him is that a private company has the right to change the price they charge for their product from year to year, based on market data. You know who else is upset by this same phenomenon? The socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro! Just this week, “President” Maduro announced a new round of price controls and promised to place limits on profit margins, if granted the power by the Venezuelan congress. He even went so far as to force a private electronics company to sell their goods at a price deemed “fair” by the government, with armed soldiers at every store location. This after throwing some of the bourgeois capitalists who run the company in jail for their intransigence. They lost their freedom because it interfered with the government’s idea of right and wrong. It appears the presidential administrations of America and Venezuela have more in common than previously thought.
We know, thanks to Valerie Jarrett, that President Obama is so smart that he’s “bored to death and too smart for ordinary people”, so some idiot in his speech-writing cadre must have slipped this pathetic talking point past him while he was yawning in bored brilliance. Arbitrary economic limits don’t work and never have. Look at rent control in New York City. Take a peek at the correlation between unemployment rates and minimum wage legislation. Examine attempts establish government price limits from the United States Food Administration during World War I, to Nazi Germany, to modern day Venezuela, whose currency is staggering under an inflation rate of 54% after years of mandated price controls.
On the surface, government-mandated price caps sound like the “right thing to do”, so why don’t they work? Arbitrary limits always backfire because they ignore fundamental economic pressures. President Obama seems to think we had seventeen million Americans who were somehow forced into buying fraudulent “cut-rate” insurance policies. He is ignoring the fact that each of those individuals made a personal evaluation of their finances and their medical needs and decided to purchase the insurance policy which best met their needs, at the cost they could afford. It’s safe to say that if they could have afforded a plan with better benefits, they likely would have purchased that plan on their own! But here comes Obamacare to the rescue, forcing these individuals to pay for something they couldn’t afford previously.
Imagine if the President made it his mission to place everyone in America who is driving an El Camino into a brand new Cadillac. So he passed a law which states that everyone who owns an El Camino no longer has a valid car title, but has to turn in their beater to buy a new Cadillac. Don’t you think that they would’ve already bought the Cadillac if they could afford it? Yet, the arrogance of progressives always presumes that they know what is best for everyone; and they are always willing to force you to accept their valuation. Like Maduro, they know the “fair” price which businesses should be charging. They know a “cut-rate” insurance plan when they see one and they’re going to make sure you get what’s best for you, consequences be damned!
What President Obama fails to understand is that Americans should be free to purchase cut-rate insurance if they so desire. This is a fundamental necessity of a free-market economy. Individuals are free to choose from a variety of products and services in order to find the one which offers the most value at the best price. Likewise, businesses are free to offer their wares at whatever price they choose. The most successful ones will find a price which allows them to sustain profitability while offering value to their customers. That’s it. It is that simple. Anything else is noise, meant to confuse and distract from the fundamental principles in play.
As much as the President wants to drag us to a cut-rate socialist economy, the revenue required for his massive entitlement expansion depends on a robust economy. Making arbitrary determinations about which private insurance policy choices are acceptable and which are not is yet another case of the government trying to pick winners and losers. It is a hackneyed excuse which gets trotted out when progressive politicians are running for cover. It has no sound economic basis and should be beneath our brainiac-in-chief. He may think he’s too smart for ordinary people, but he’s demonstrated yet again that he is simultaneously oblivious to historical precedent and ignorant of basic economic principles.