Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Thinking About Obamacare

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff takes an appraising look at Obamacare, what it is and isn't, what that means for changing it. Some key points he makes:
Obamacare (and Medicaid) differs materially from Social Security and Medicare, the classic entitlement programs. Everyone can get Social Security and Medicare if they reach a certain age. Moreover, because we pay into these programs, there’s a strong case that we are entitled to receive benefits.

Obamacare is a welfare program. It provides free health insurance to people who are slightly above the poverty line and subsidized health insurance to a group somewhat further up the income scale.

It is nearly axiomatic that true entitlement programs will never be eliminated. (snip) Welfare programs aren’t easily eliminated either but they can be, and sometimes they are cut back substantially.

Thus, in thinking about the possibility of eliminating Obamacare or curbing the benefits its provides, it makes sense to ask whether it is more like a classic entitlement or more like welfare.

I think it makes more sense to view Obamacare as welfare than as a classic entitlement.