The Election Became a Referendum on Obamacare

The Election Became a Referendum on Obamacare

Why is it that our access to and pricing of food, clothing, car rides, home repairs, auto insurance, and every manner of digital service, have improved vastly in the last decade, while healthcare has become ever worse?

Ironically, it was the ever-astute Bill Clinton who issued the most salient warning a month before the vote:

“So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have healthcare and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”

The next day, he walked back his comments and they were immediately buried.

Obamacare was Obama’s biggest domestic initiative for the last eight years. In the long sweep of the rise of the welfare state in the 20th century, it was a relatively small-scale reform. But right now, the sweep of history doesn’t matter. This program had all the smart people behind it, all the resources, all the power, all the promotion from the media. And it flopped, and it destroyed people’s confidence in something that is at the core of their lives.

This was a verdict on a failed system of healthcare delivery, and a verdict on the paradigm that created itAnd that loss of confidence translated into a generalized incredulity toward everything the Democratic nominee said. If she couldn’t be truthful about what had happened to her beloved program, if she couldn’t sympathize at all with the problems people were facing as a result of a program she had dedicated a large part of her professional life to bringing about, why should she be trusted with the presidency? It’s an excellent question. It is easy to see how this dynamic could turn into an actionable resentment against a distant and elite ruling class that cared nothing for the real-life concerns of average people. This proved Trump’s narrative.

So yes, the pundits will offer sweeping and apocryphal interpretations of this election. But a much plainer and more human reaction is to deploy Occam’s razor. This was a verdict on a failed system of healthcare delivery, and a verdict on the paradigm that created it.

What Next?

Is there something structurally different about medical services that make them unlike anything else, such that government must rule their delivery?Hating a bad system and punishing its champion is easy enough. Much harder is fixing the problem: the most popular aspects of the program are also the very reason for the least popular aspects of the program. This explains why Trump already backed down from his hard promise to repeal, and is instead talking about amending the existing law. And this happened only four days after he had made repeal a centerpiece of his speech in Michigan, another state that swung his way.

The months and years ahead are going to be all about an endless stream of confusing proposals, complexities, and regulatory tweaks. People need to ask themselves a simple question: why is it that our access to and pricing of food, clothing, car rides, home repairs, auto insurance, and every manner of digital service, have improved vastly in the last decade, while healthcare has become ever worse?

Is there something structurally different about medical services that make them unlike anything else, such that government must rule their delivery? No. If you put the service in the hands of government to manage, you subject a judgement on its merits to the democratic process. 

The truth is unavoidable: the only path toward fixing this problem is through ever less government and ever more market competition.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Jeffrey Tucker
Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me.  His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. Email



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