Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) recently appeared on the MSNBC round-table discussion show Morning Joe and was asked by Senior Political Analyst Mark Halperin to give his personal take on the reality of a world where Obamacare is the law of the land. Here’s what transpired:
JOHNSON: Well, it’s obviously the law of the land right now. Obviously, I’m concerned about it. I think that the cost estimate of Obamacare is grossly understated. I think far more Americans are going to lose their employer-sponsored health care, because there are incentives for employers who drop the coverage and make their employees eligible for the huge subsidies in the exchanges. I think it will explode our deficit. It’s going to lead to rationing. It will lead to rationing and lower-quality care. Here is the basic economic problem.
MIKE BARNICLE: Why will it lead to rationing?
JOHNSON: Because it dramatically increases the demand for healthcare. Thirty million Americans getting their health care, kind of through a Medicaid-like process, while it dramatically reduces the supply. That’s an economic disaster. When you’re taking $716 billion out of payments, primarily to the providers, you’re reducing supply and increasing demand. That doesn’t lower the cost curve. That increases the cost curve.
HALPERIN: Well, again, just to stay on health care. Lots of big issues, I now you want to talk about. But, do you aspire to live in a country where we have universal healthcare? Is that a goal of yours?
Johnson: What I aspire is to health care being governed more by free-market competitive systems. I always use the example of one area of healthcare that generally isn’t covered by a third-party payer or by government. It’s eyeglasses. The free market has actually produced businesses that you can walk off the street, get eyeglasses in an hour, two for the price of one. Take a look at the quality of laser surgery – it’s gone up and up and the price has gone down the last ten years. The free market system is a marvel, in terms of guaranteeing the lowest possible price and cost, and the highest possible quality of customer service. But we’re moving in the opposite direction: government control.
HALPERIN: Yes or no, do you aspire for the United States to have universal healthcare coverage?
I wonder why no one asked Mark Halperin if he aspires to be a real journalist one day?
For the life of me, I cannot figure out if Halperin’s line of questioning has an agenda or not? He’s way too smooth and subtle to betray his own political leanings!
The framing of the debate over health care in Utopian-soaked, pie-in-the-sky moral rhetoric (that favors the current administration’s agenda of creating a European-style medical and entitlement system) has been an utter and complete rout by the progressive-Left in this country. Sure, you can still find polls that show the majority of Americans are not in favor of what is loosely termed Obamacare, but the damage has been done. Laws have been passed. The country re-elected a Community Organizer who, with all due respect, possess as much executive experience and real-world business acumen as my Rottweiler Rudy. It should worry you!
And most devastating of all: the only thing a proponent of bigger government, more regulation, and countless layers of cumbersome bureaucracy has to do is drop a sanctimonious “So you don’t want everyone to be taken care of?” sound-bite and, in the mind of the average American viewer, they have won the “debate” (term used loosely).
I think Senator Johnson did a fairly adequate job in this exchange of defending free enterprise, but he didn’t address the heart of the moral question being repeated incessantly by the smug Halperin (who knew exactly what he was doing). We certainly need examples of the real-world, tangible practicality of freer economic markets and competition, but all of that can quickly sound cold and empty when contrasted with a lofty and egalitarian query that tugs on our heart-strings as citizens of a still Judeo-Christian society.
Progressives use the Utopian dream of taking care of every American’s needs (for cheaper, no less!) – a noble and honorable goal – as a weapon to bludgeon their political opponents with. Questions about costs, effects on doctors’ pay, the quality of care patients receive, and the like are trivial matters for “experts” on panels and commissions to figure out after-the-fact.
The important thing in America 2013 is to sound good in front of a camera and feel good about your political intentions.
Unfortunately, this is how civilizations crumble from within.