Obamacare, despite the populist pablum peddled by its proponents, was and is a big raft of corporatism. It props up and protects the big companies that it regulates and taxes. It ties big business and big government together in a tawdry embrace whose offspring include higher prices, less consumer choice, and diminished competition.
This dynamic was on display again today when President Trump announced his Department of Health and Human Services wouldn't pay out the CSR, or cost-sharing reduction, payments that Obamacare had authorized but Congress had never appropriated.
These payments, billed by CNN as aid for the poor, actually go directly to insurance companies and pad their bottom lines.
That's why insurance lobbyists were quick to freak out over the decision.
Tom Daschle, the healthcare lobbyist who served as a close adviser helping former President Barack Obama craft Obamacare while in the pay of health-sector clients, expressed his anger on Twitter.
The President's action last night abdicates responsibility to regulate the health insurance market.— Thomas A. Daschle (@TomDaschle) October 13, 2017
Daschle currently lobbies on behalf of Blue Cross.
The health insurance lobby broadly objected to Trump's move. CNBC reported:
A trio of major insurance industry groups on Friday decried the cutoff of billions of dollars of subsidy payments to insurers by the Trump administration, warning that patients will now find it "harder" to get the care they need.
Two of those groups, America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association also disputed claims by President Donald Trump that the cost-sharing reduction payments are a "bailout" for Obamacare insurers.
Does it prove that the executive order and the subsidy decision were good, that industry objects to them? No. But it's worth recalling because the Democrats made this argument. They tried to prove the righteousness of Obamacare by asserting that opponents were the allies of industry. This was a half-lie back then. It's totally false today.
Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's commentary editor, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Tuesday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.