Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

It’s a Joke to Call Obamacare Conservative


Just about the only occasions the New York Times allows conservatives entry into the paper’s op/ed pages are when they bash other conservatives or support liberal public policies. We saw that pattern repeated in the 9/30 edition when American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, J. D. Kleinke, wrote in praise of Obamacare as conservative From, “The Conservative Case for Obamacare:”

The president’s program extends the current health care system — mostly employer-based coverage, administered by commercial health insurers, with care delivered by fee-for-service doctors and hospitals — by removing the biggest obstacles to that system’s functioning like a competitive marketplace. Chief among these obstacles are market limitations imposed by the problematic nature of health insurance, which requires that younger, healthier people subsidize older, sicker ones. Because such participation is often expensive and always voluntary, millions have simply opted out, a risky bet emboldened by the 24/7 presence of the heavily subsidized emergency room down the street. The health care law forcibly repatriates these gamblers, along with those who cannot afford to participate in a market that ultimately cross-subsidizes their medical misfortunes anyway, when they get sick and show up in that E.R.

“Forcible” repatriation is hardly conservative. And the notion Kleinke peddles that Obamacare isn’t a “government takeover” is laughable, since many coverage and benefit details are to be established from central control within the bowels of the federal bureaucracy–taking up perhaps tens of thousands of pages in the Federal Register. Yea, that sure seems like limited government to me!

Beyond that, consider the following:

  • Obamacare established the quasi sovereign super bureaucracy called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, that doesn’t advise, but imposes its fiscal prescription into law–even over a presidential veto. That isn’t conservative.
  • Obamacare has already been harnessed by the administration to attack freedom of religion–reducing it to a restricted “freedom of worship”–as it seeks to force dissenting (non houses of worship) religious institutions to violate their faith dogmas under the “Free Birth Control Rule.” That’s not conservative, and mark my words, if Obamacare stands, someday there will be a Free Abortion Rule.
  • Obamacare also seeks to destroy freedom of religion in the operation of businesses, by claiming in a legal brief that seeking profit is an inherently secular activity, and hence, there is no right to the free exercise of religion in the entrepreneurial or corporate context. That isn’t conservative either.

It wouldn’t be a “conservative” NYT op/ed column without some bitter vituperation of social conservatives. Kleinke obliges:

Social conservatives’ hostility to the health care act is a natural corollary to their broader agenda of controlling women’s bodies. These are not the objections of traditional “conservatives,” but of agitators for prying, invasive government — the very things they project, erroneously, onto the workings of the president’s plan. Decrying the legislation for interfering in the doctor-patient relationship, while seeking to pass grossly intrusive laws involving the OB-GYN-patient relationship, is one of the more bizarre disconnects in American politics.

The ”War on Women,” canard isn’t relevant to the provisions of Obamacare, it’s just a form of lashing out.  It would seem self evident that echoing Democrat talking points isn’t conservative either.

Kleinke claims the absence of a public option or single payer law should warm the cockles of conservatives’ hearts. That was only because Obama/Pelosi/Reid couldn’t get the votes, not because the administration disfavors them. Rest assured, those approaches will be brought forward as soon as politically practicable, or the inevitable implosion of Obamacare, whichever comes first. 

Conservative? That’s the last thing to call Obamacare. Which is why the NYT’s editors allowed Kleinke to echo their own leftwing positions on the op/ed page. 


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