Until the 19th century, the Chinese practiced a method of torture called lingchi. Better known as “death by a thousand cuts” it involved slicing small pieces of flesh from a victim’s body, one by one, so that death was both protracted and utterly excruciating. This is what the realities of economics are doing to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The authors of health care “reform” believed they could ignore the dismal science. The laws of economics have rewarded this hubris by ruthlessly inflicting fact after agonizing fact on Obamacare. And, like all lingchi victims, it will eventually succumb.
The Right Prescription
The Supreme Court’s decision to hear Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell means that another group of Christians bedeviled by Beltway bureaucrats must beg permission from nine unelected government officials to practice their faith unmolested. This isn’t about women’s health or reproductive rights. It’s just another battle in the war on religious liberty waged by various manifestations of the state for two millennia. Whether it’s President Obama ordering his HHS secretary to bring intransigent nuns to heel or the Emperor Trajan advising a provincial governor on the proper punishment of unrepentant Christians, it’s all about worshipping the state gods.
Last April, the HHS Office of Inspector General issued an alert concerning the misuse of Obamacare start-up grants by certain states. Congress yawned. Later, the Obama administration illegally rewrote the law’s limitations on how these funds could be spent. Our elected representatives remained inert. In August, a few Senators bestirred themselves enough to write to the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) concerning how he planned to recoup grants from failed exchanges. The House still snored. Even after state skullduggery involving the grants was reported in this space on September 14, and subsequently by other publications, the House slumbered.
The partisan press has been desperately seeking some weapon that will destroy the GOP presidential candidate who frightens them the most — Ben Carson. Last month, when they realized Carson had defied expert predictions that he would fade away due to lack of funding and earned coverage, the “news” media went after him with all the racist venom they reserve for black conservatives. That failed. Carson’s rise in the polls has continued unabated and recent surveys suggest that he will beat Donald Trump in the Iowa caucuses. This has panicked these purported journalists into activating the ultimate Democrat doomsday machine — Mediscare.
Between 2010 and 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $4.6 billion in Obamacare start-up grants to 16 Democrat-controlled states and the District of Columbia. $1.4 billion of this taxpayer largesse was spent on exchanges, many of which imploded upon launch or operated so inefficiently that enrollees have been left to the tender mercies of Obamacare.gov. The rest of these states also appear likely to abandon their exchanges in favor of federal “marketplaces.” Yet, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), they have kept all but $1 million of the grants. Where’s the rest of our money?
The media, having failed to stop Ben Carson’s steady rise in popularity by treating him like Ralph Ellison’s “invisible man,” are now going nuclear on him. The number of press attacks launched on Carson has recently increased exponentially. And, significantly, the barrage has been far more vicious than any criticism directed at Donald Trump or the other GOP presidential aspirants. The GQ assault titled “F*ck Ben Carson” is only exceptional for its vulgarity. Countless columns, articles, broadcasts and blog posts have portrayed him as “stupid,” “insane,” and even “racist.” The media clearly fear Carson more than the other Republicans. Why?
Obamacare’s survival is not a given, despite claims by the Democrats and their media allies that the Supreme Court’s latest rewrite of the law means it’s here to stay. Most Americans still disapprove of it, and many of the law’s provisions are unpopular even with important Democrat constituencies. The “Cadillac tax,” for example, is so reviled by the labor unions that Hillary Clinton has been forced to call for its repeal. Yet, only one of the three leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination has both the credibility and a serious commitment to getting rid of Obamacare — Ben Carson.
In October 2013, Oregon was just another state whose Obamacare exchange failed to achieve lift-off when its Democrat governor attempted to abet the President in the launch of his “signature domestic achievement.” Shortly thereafter, Governor Kitzhaber earned two additional distinctions not enjoyed by Obama’s other accomplices: He was the first to abandon his constituents to Healthcare.gov, and resigned pursuant to an ethics scandal. Before leaving office, however, Kitzhaber made what may be the most outrageous decision of his tawdry tenure—he sicced his Attorney General on the IT firm that built the exchange as well as some of its employees.
When Maryland’s Attorney General announced last summer that his office had negotiated a settlement whereby $45 million would be recouped from the IT contractor that botched the state’s Obamacare exchange, it was widely reported as good news for taxpayers. It appeared that their investment in the mismanaged project would not be a dead loss. But the AG’s statement included this curious passage: “The agreement… will lead to the recovery of funds for both Maryland and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS].” What’s so odd about that? Well, the state didn’t contribute any money to the project.
Here’s some electoral history that Donald Trump’s supporters should consider before voting in their GOP primaries: Since 1972, no Republican presidential candidate has won a general election with less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote. Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes received between 30 and 40 percent in their successful presidential bids. All of the GOP losers from 1976 through 2012 received between 24 and 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. This includes George H. W. Bush, who lost in 1992 after his percentage eroded to 25 percent from the 30 percent he garnered in his successful 1988 campaign.