Those who have elected to keep close tabs on the reactions to Obamacare’s blotchy rollout will presumably have noticed that it has been marked by admissions of guilt. The latest such confession comes from The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber, who bluntly conceded yesterday that “Obamacare actually paves the way toward single payer.” Pushing back against Michael Moore’s unsettling criticisms of the law, Schreiber tweeted:
This, Scheiber made sure to explain, was not an accident, and nor was it merely a dose of post hoc optimism. Obamacare, he claimed, is in fact “a deceptively sneaky way to get the health care system both of us really want” — that is, single payer. And “Republicans are in some sense playing into the trap Obamacare laid for them.”
I honestly do not know whether Scheiber’s prediction is correct. When government wishes to expand itself, it is tough for people to resist, and the instances are legion of people who wanted a little change but were subjected instead to a lot. Still, I suspect that this will not be the case with Obamacare. For a start, the rollicking disaster that has been the law’s launch will now be projected into every home each and every time an expansion of government is suggested. And, disappointingly for the movement that spawned the change, Americans appear to be reacting to it by concluding that government should henceforth have less — not more — to do with health care. Either way, whatever happens in the future, I do know this: When Republicans have written their own version of Scheiber’s column, complaining that Obamacare is but a “deceptively sneaky way to get” to single payer, they have been immediately denounced for hysteria and mendacity and invited to remove the tin foil.
Accusing its opponents of lying has been the Left’s modus operandi since the first shots of the health-care debate were fired. Insofar as there was any at all, the ostensible theory was that, unable to muster any serious criticisms, almost certainly motivated by money and by racism, and tainted forever for having supposedly endorsed the scheme in the 1990s, conservatives were reduced to fabrications and to hyperbole — in other words, into scaring the public by telling them things that weren’t true. In the meantime, the law’s architects tripped over themselves to bend the truth — but that was fine because they were spreading “noble lies,” as the perpetually melting-down Brian Beutler now terms these tales.
Among the alleged falsehoods on which conservative opposition relied were that the scheme was effectively a “takeover” that would leave the president with capricious control over the nation’s health-care system; that insurance premiums would inevitably increase for some; that the president’s oft-repeated promise that all Americans could keep their health care if they liked it was obviously untrue; and that government was almost certainly unsuited to run a project of this magnitude and importance. Also claimed to be mendacious was the Right’s characterization of the measure as a severe departure from the status quo. Thus were we treated to a standard by which Joe Biden was able to call passage a “big f***ing deal” and the president was allowed to boast about his newest place in history with nary a squeak, but Republicans doing the same thing were accused of blowing a “moderate” and “modest” proposal out of all proportion.