Former Senator Phil Gramm writes today in The Wall Street Journal:
In claiming earlier this year that the current U.S. health-care system “was HillaryCare before it was called ObamaCare,” Hillary Clinton was telling the truth—but not the whole truth. In 1993, while first lady, Mrs. Clinton led a task force to deliver universal health care to the voters who elected her husband. She failed. After many revisions, the final bill stalled in the Senate for lack of Democratic votes.
HillaryCare was a comprehensive plan for the government to take over the health-care system, with program details and cost-control measures precisely defined. Having learned from that defeat, the Obama administration left as many details as possible to be written during implementation after ObamaCare became law. With few details to defend and the clear falsehood that “if you like your health-care plan you can keep it,” President Obama pushed through his “signature” legislation.
While Bill Clinton recently denounced the Affordable Care Act’s effect on the health-care market as “the craziest thing in the world,” ObamaCare was never anything more than a politically achievable steppingstone. As with HillaryCare, a single payer, national health-care system has always been the goal....
President Obama left out the politically dangerous details of how the program would be structured and how costs would be controlled. But in the end ObamaCare passed because he neutralized the freedom issue that had killed HillaryCare by lying about the ability of Americans to keep their health insurance. Seldom in any free society has a purposeful lie led to a greater loss of freedom...
The Achilles’ heel of ObamaCare today is the same weakness that felled HillaryCare—the coercion required to force millions of young, healthy people into the exchanges where they can be exploited. Why the Republican majority in Congress has never forced a vote on health-care freedom, giving families the right—promised by President Obama and his Democratic allies—to choose not to participate in ObamaCare and to buy the health care of their choice independent of the exchanges, remains the greatest mystery of the 114th Congress.
ObamaCare’s plan was always to cook the frog slowly. It didn’t immediately close the individual market or shut down the small-group market as HillaryCare did. President Obama granted substantial flexibility in implementation, such as suspending penalties for individuals and employers, waiving income-verification requirements and easing the premium shock on young enrollees by administratively adjusting the community-rating system. But the result of delaying the coercion ObamaCare requires has been an explosion in health-care premiums and massive losses by insurers.
Except for the fact that it is occurring right before the elections, the four largest national health insurers dropping out of ObamaCare is not a problem. This is the plan. Eliminating the facade of private insurance is how ObamaCare “morphs” into HillaryCare and ultimately into a single-payer plan like Medicaid or Medicare. This is exactly what Mr. Obama and the Clintons wanted to begin with. Right on cue, they are now campaigning for a Bernie Sanders-type nationalized health-care system.