Friday was the second anniversary of the passage of Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Since then, insurance premiums have increased by an average of $2,200 per year, even as people have been moving into more economical plans with less coverage. (Obama promised that premiums would decrease by $2,500 during his first term.) It is true, insurance premiums had been rising at roughly 5 percent per year before Obamacare, but the yearly increase has jumped to 9 percent since the law was passed. Most of this increase is directly attributable to the health care law’s new regulations, particularly the new rules that require insurance companies to allow parents to keep their children on their plans until the “child” is in his late twenties and to provide coverage to children regardless of preexisting conditions. These regulations essentially transform insurance companies from private entities offering a free market service into semi-private agencies that distribute government-mandated benefits. Once the entirety of the law comes into effect, the only way for the government to cut soaring medical costs will be through rationing. This central planning will be carried out by the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which will be in charge of determining what health care treatments insurance companies must cover and at what price.
It’s true that the American health care system was already heavily-regulated before Obamacare. It’s true that most Republicans are being inconsistent by denouncing the individual mandate while at the same time defending Medicare and Medicaid. And it’s true that the Supreme Court–nine unaccountable government lawyers with lifetime tenure–should not be the sole judge of whether a law is constitutional. Nonetheless, it will be a tremendous practical victory for liberty if the court strikes down this fascist program. And it will be a serious blow if the court rubber stamps it.
Tomorrow, the court will hear the opposing arguments for the central question in the case–whether the individual mandate, the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine, is constitutional. (Of course, it’s not.) A ruling is expected in June.