For those of you getting hit with $2,000-$3,000 monthly premiums for basic medical insurance, take comfort in the fact that 20 percent of all Obamacare consumers are getting absolutely free coverage. And that doesn’t even include those enrolled in Medicaid expansion. In our times, a handout is a right, but free enterprise and the right to keep the fruits of one’s labor are forbidden. One hundred years after the Bolshevik revolution, the land of the free is no longer free.
On Monday, the AP reported that one in five insurance customers were completely subsidized and paid zero in monthly premiums:
In some cases, “gold” plans offering enhanced protection against the costs of illness are also available for free to people whose incomes qualify them for financial assistance.
Dillon Vatick said he couldn’t believe it as he shopped online recently for next year’s health plan. Vatick is a computer science student who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. He qualified for a monthly subsidy of about $280 and he found a bronze plan with a premium of less than $270.
“My health care is technically free,” said Vatick.
“Was it too good to be true?” he said he asked himself when he first saw the numbers. “Sure enough, it wasn’t.”
This is one part of Obamacare that nobody in Washington wants to discuss. There is an insane subsidy/tax cliff that is killing economic growth and upward mobility. A family of three earning below the subsidy line — $81,680 — could get most or all of their insurance subsidized. But any family earning a penny over that level will be saddled with $25,000-plus in annual premiums. Families literally come out ahead by earning less. What does this do to productivity? As James Wilson, one of the greatest Founders, observed of socialism: “Who would cultivate the soil, and sow the grain, if he had no peculiar interests in the harvest? Who would rear and tend flocks and herds, if they were to be taken from him by the first person who should come to demand them?”
This is why it is an exercise in vanity for the GOP to focus on a dubious tax reform plan while ignoring the most anti-growth tax cliff imaginable.
Meanwhile, the insurance cartel is spending record funds on advertisements to sign people up for free stuff, paid for by taxpayers. It’s a good life when they can take their record profits from taxpayers through subsidies, Medicaid, and Medicare and use the monopoly money to advertise cheap prices built on the back of consumers forced into a corrupt system. At present, 74 percent of all people on Medicaid are enrolled in plans managed by the cartel, which are paid for by you and me. And in the case of the insurance cartel’s monopoly, Obama’s adage “You didn’t build that” is actually true. For in a true free market, the cartel would never succeed in gouging the citizenry in order to give “free” stuff to others, because they’d face market backlash, competition, and a lack of capital to sustain their business model. Sadly, government programs, regulations, subsidies, and interventions have ensured they can hose the taxpayer without facing any backlash at all.
My home state constitution got it right when in 1776 it declared that “monopolies are odious, contrary to the spirit of a free government, and the principles of commerce; and ought not to be suffered.” Who would ever have thought it would be the government handing private entities such a monopoly and placing the property, prosperity, and livelihood of all Americans in their hands.
This week we celebrate the bounty we have reaped this year from God’s blessings. Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in our founding values, built upon the understanding that property rights are sacred, that they come from God, and they are meant to foster prosperity so that we can voluntarily share in the bounty rather than coercively redistribute the bounty and make everyone poor. John Adams warned of this distortion of God-given rights and conflation of charity with government-induced theft:
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.
So, this Thanksgiving, if you find yourself the recipient of free health insurance, make sure to thank your neighbor. Whether he likes it or not, he is picking up the tab.
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.