Apr
12
2014

Vermont. Or, ‘Why #Obamacare will not lead to single-payer.’

Megan McArdle finished up her article on Vermont’s single-payer woes by pretty much saying that, but I already knew it anyway. The basic problem? It’s going to cost at least $1.6 billion a year (or about 59% of Vermont’s current annual budget)… and there’s no way to pay for it except via massive tax hikes.  Megan notes that Vermont’s taxes aren’t actually high at all right now, and that implementing single-payer would immediately skyrocket that state’s rate to the highest in the country. And then she got puckish:

Now, you can argue that people should be glad to make this trade-off, not just for peace of mind, but because they will trade higher taxes for lower (no) insurance premiums. You can also argue that poor people in America should be laughing and dancing and singing all day because every one of them is economically better off than starving farmers in drought-ridden regions of Africa. Neither argument will do you much good, however, because that’s not how people think.

Contra what will be the inevitable progressive counter-argument, Vermonters did not actually vote for higher taxes.  Instead, they voted for single-payer (via the legislature), and even partisan Democrat outlets like Vox have noticed that voters in that state have very little interest in paying for the necessary increases out of their own pocket. Then again, voters were largely not told ahead of time that they would have to make those payments.  Judging from the way that single-payer advocates are dancing around the funding issue, there’s a reason for that: the resulting screaming might have actually reduced the Democratic majority in the Vermont state legislature.

Can’t have that.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

Addendum (it’s a bit more than a PS): Megan McArdle, like myself, has long been frankly dismissive of the argument that the unmitigated disaster that has been Obamacare since its misbegotten birth was planned all along by the n-dimensional geniuses on the Left. Why?  Well, her primary argument is that single-payer cuts across the existing healthcare market…

What made single payer impossible is the fact that tens of millions of voters have employer-sponsored insurance that they basically like, and they would freak out if you told them it was being replaced by a government-run national health-care program. Progressives could spend all the time they wanted talking about how awesome things are in Canada, but it wouldn’t have altered the fundamental political calculus. People are loss-averse; they worry more about losing what they have than they do about some unproven potential gain.

…and that wrecking those markets is not going to make people magically decide to embrace the political party that destroyed private health care in this country. Which is true; but my primary argument is that the Left is simply not collectively skilled enough to create a conspiracy of this size in the first place.

This is a statement that will generate profound disagreement on the Right.  In my opinion, mind you, it will do so because calling our political opponents idiots – an assessment which is compatible with any dispassionate analysis of the passage and rollout of Obamacare – implies that the Right lost to idiots in 2006, 2008, and (sorta) in 2012. People on the Right will instinctively recoil from that implication; and I understand the impulse.  Losing to fools is one of the least pleasant activities known to man. It’s better, in some ways, to say We are fighting an enemy that never makes mistakes, always has the drop on us, and who cannot hope to be defeated without us operating at 110% (because we always operate at 100%).  Then losing isn’t your side’s fault.

The reality, however?  This administration can’t even boot an incompetent Health and Human Services secretary out the door without checking to see if said incompetent has all the pages to her otherwise utterly-forgettable resignation speech. Machiavelli, they are not.

5 Comments

  • Catseyes says:

    The reason we lost in 2008 is that about 4 million of the people who came out and voted in 2004 stayed home. And the problem for the Republican Party is they have yet to find a way to get those people to come back and vote for them.

    • Herp McDerp says:

      And some of those people who didn’t come out in 2008 and (especially!) in 2012 subscribe to the philosophy of “I won’t vote for a wishy-washy conservative! Let the country crash and burn under the Democrats, and then the voters will see that the catastrophe is all their fault! After that, we can rebuild a sensible society from the rubble.”
       
      Yeah, like that’s really gonna happen. What’s more likely is what has always happened in the past: the party responsible for the mess blames their opponents, seizes even more power, pushes even more absurd policies, and enriches still more cronies. Because Emergency.

  • Finrod says:

    As I’ve taken to saying, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, but some of the time you can fool 51 percent of the people at Election time.

  • Luke says:

    They are fools.
    But they really did plan on destroying the private insurance market. Too many of them made public statements to that effect to dismiss.
    Their contention that single-payer will become inevitable in the aftermath, seems to have a large element of wishcasting built in. But that’s not unusual with Progressive schemes.

  • Catseyes says:

    Nope Herp, from those I know it’s more along the lines of why bother voting when no matter what either side says we’re going to get the same crap from both of them. Oh yea, and both parties lie all the time anyway. So why bother trying to figure out which side you can trust when neither of them are trustworthy. Many of them see no difference between Republicans and Democrats. The same thing is happening with democrat voters but not to as great an extant.

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