President Obama is rather fond of presenting himself as a champion of the people — the only choice for the average citizens who, through “no fault of their own” and having “played by the rules,” are screwed over by a bleak and unjust system. Heroic language was a mainstay during his campaigns of 2008 and 2012, and it continues to be deployed today. “Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same,” argued Obama during the State of the Union in 2012. “It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom. No bailouts, no handouts, and no cop-outs. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.” Through an ill-disguised desire to “fundamentally transform” the place, he would be the man to build that America.
Among those whom the president has explicitly deemed to be losing out “through no fault of their own” are illegal immigrants who were brought here as children, federal workers who were furloughed during the recent government shutdown, and “homeowners facing foreclosure.” Oddly enough, however, he has yet to mention the millions of responsible and admirable Americans who for years purchased health insurance on the individual market and who are now being thrown off their plans — through no fault of their own, of course, but by him and his central political achievement.
These are the 5 million — and counting — self-reliant types who have not merely suffered the indignity of being forcefully deprived of plans with which they were largely happy, but have also been forced to sit helplessly by while a parade of imperious, preening elites explained to them with barely concealed disdain that their choices could no longer be tolerated by the state. “I am completely happy with my plan,” Margaret Davis of California lamented last week in a widely published letter
to Senator Dianne Feinstein. Perhaps you are, Margaret. But the president is not, and in modern America that is all that matters. Now, for the same catastrophic plan, Davis faces an 88 percent increase in her premiums — and less coverage
. Is this “fair”?
Either way, it is now abundantly clear that this was the plan all along, and those who remained wedded to the outmoded ideal that they were well-placed to determine which products worked best for themselves and their families were regarded as but collateral damage. A second NBC investigative report, published last Friday evening to a chorus of howls, revealed beyond reasonable doubt that the White House deliberately made the rules “too stringent to allow many to keep their policies” and that, despite the fact that “the administration was warned three years ago that regulations would have exactly that effect,” the president pressed ahead anyway.
Obamacare has always been just one more presidential speech away from popularity. If people could just be taught to act against their interests, the theory went, they would submit with relish. In fact, the opposite has happened. At one level, one cannot help but feel sorry for the Obama voter who griped that, while she wanted people to have health insurance, she didn’t realize she “would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.” Why would she? The president promised her that the law wouldn’t affect her, that it would probably cut her rates, and that it was designed only to help the indigent and punish the free-riders while leaving the self-sufficient alone. Nobody said anything about losers.