The Corner

Politics & Policy

Did Obamacare Boldly Redistribute Wealth?

Further to David’s point below, it is a theme in the coverage and the criticism of the Republican health-care bill that it will redistribute wealth upward. Here is a typical example from a Washington Post story today:

That dramatic shift and the bill’s bold redistribution of wealth — the billions of dollars taken from coverage for the poor would help fund tax cuts for the wealthy — is creating substantial anxiety for several Republican moderates whose states have especially benefited from the expansion of Medicaid that the Affordable Care Act has allowed since 2014.

The thing about this is that it’s not really possible for the repeal bill to be a “redistribution” in this sense unless the underlying law was a redistribution the other way. But it was very difficult to get supporters of Obamacare to admit this about the bill at the time. Byron York wrote a column in 2010 about some Democrats and analysts beginning to tout the redistributive aspects of Obamacare after its passage.

Now they tell us. For many opponents of the new legislation, the statements confirmed a nagging suspicion that for Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, the health fight was about more than just insurance – that redistribution played a significant, if largely unspoken, part in the drive for national health care.

Well, now we know beyond a doubt that Obamacare was a “bold” redistribution of wealth, sold under false pretenses.