Republicans Are Killing Market-Based Health Care in America

By sabotaging Obamacare, Republicans are giving Democrats no choice but to push for government-run health care.

President Barack Obama speaks with Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin during a nationally televised bipartisan meeting on health insurance reform at Blair House in Washington DC, February 25, 2010
President Barack Obama speaks with Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin during a nationally televised bipartisan meeting on health insurance reform at Blair House in Washington DC, February 25, 2010 (White House/Pete Souza)

Matthew Yglesias makes a convincing argument in Vox that, by resisting Obamacare at every turn, Republicans are making European-style universal health care more likely in the United States.

Mandate

Obamacare was modeled on the Dutch and Swiss systems, which mix public health care with private health insurance. Both have an individual mandate; health insurance is compulsory. Without one, it would be unreasonable to expect health insurers to cover everybody.

This system was invented by the American right as an alternative to British-style health care, where the government owns everything.

But as soon as Democrats embraced it, Republicans turned against their own creation. Now the number of uninsured Americans is growing again.

Sabotage

Republicans couldn’t — or wouldn’t — actually repeal Obamacare, but, as Yglesias points out, they have sabotaged it in myriad ways. Read his story for the details.

Democrats assumed that no future administration would be so reckless as to deliberately make insurance more expensive and less accessible. But that is what Republicans are doing.

They want to tear down the Obamacare regulatory framework and they are going to do it whether or not they have the votes in Congress to formally pass repeal.

The lesson for Democrats: If they want to make sure everybody has health insurance, they are going to have to do it through a big, old-fashioned entitlement program, like Medicare or Social Society, that keeps trundling along unless Congress repeals it in its entirely.