Is the Affordable Care Act designed to usher in single-payer health insurance?
Was it originally designed for that purpose? I don't know. Does it have a hope in you-know-where of accomplishing that at this point in time? Not only no, but not even close.
And here's why. The always excellent John Fund on the conservative website National Review Online:
As Vermont Goes…
The short version: Vermont, a very blue (liberal) state, set a goal of implementing a single-payer health insurance system by 2017, with the plan to be sent to the state legislature in 2013. In case you haven't noticed, they missed that deadline, and the lack of its presentation became a talking point during Vermont's 2014 midterm elections.
After the election, Vermont's Democrat governor, Peter Shumlin, announced that the plan was being dropped — because it turned out to be unaffordable. Kevin Glass at the conservative (and sometimes snarky) website Town Hall explains:
Vermont Abandons Single Payer Healthcare Because It's Too Expensive
A bit more detail from the VodkaPundit, Stephen Green, at PJMedia.com:
To make single payer work in Vermont, every other form of health insurance would have to be scrapped throughout the state, and even then the system would require massive amounts of federal dollars. Thing is, if single payer were attempted at the national level, where would those extra dollars come from? And everybody who receives health insurance as part of an employment package would have to lose it. How many people would be willing to do so?
More on those federal dollars Vermont wanted from The Daily Caller's Sarah Hurtubise:
Vermont’s Giving Up On Single-Payer Health Care Over Ballooning Costs
Note that Shumlin also cited Vermont's weak economy as a reason to drop the single-payer project for now, and that single payer was no guarantee of lower health care costs.
But the bigger scoop on this story deservedly goes to Breitbart.com and reporter Dan Riehl. See, it seems that one of the architects of the single-payer system under consideration in Vermont was… Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist currently under a cloud for discussions of "stupid" American voters and how the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) was written and passed in a non-transparent manner to fool the public. Here's their story:
First Casualty of GruberGate: Vermont Governor Abandons Single-Payer Health Care Plan
If Vermont passed single payer based upon modeling from Gruber similar to that he conducted for the ACA… well, no wonder the state anticipated the need for a lot of federal money.
So why won't single payer work in the United States, when it's so successful in Europe? Mainly because Europe leans on the U.S. for military protection, generally through NATO. Military budgets across the continent have been shrinking for decades as their domestic welfare spending has ballooned. There's only so much money to go around, even at European tax rates, and NATO members made the decision to prioritize domestic welfare over their militaries. Here's Ted Galen Carpenter and Marian L. Tupy from the conservative think tank Cato.org:
U.S. Defense Spending Subsidizes European Free-Riding Welfare States
In short, when we pay for the American military to protect Europe, that frees Europe's money for their domestic spending. The U.S. taxpayer gets the bill.
The White House's shift from military spending to domestic echoes Europe's footsteps. It's left America's foreign policy in a disastrous condition as nonfriendly states take advantage. But it's had the (unintended?) side effect of forcing European nations to confront their own lack of readiness and shift their thinking from butter to guns. Vladimir Putin's adventures in the Ukraine, with Poland just beyond, emphasized the point too strongly for even the most head-in-the-sand Europhile to miss.
And while there are dangers in America's shrinking presence on the world stage (to employ an overworked cliché) there are also a few benefits — namely, forcing Europe onto its own feet and cutting U.S. taxpayer subsidies to their social welfare spending. If we're going to pay to protect someone, let's make it ourselves. Now, that's change I could believe in.
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