Many liberals believe that the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — is unpopular only because most Americans don’t understand it. There is some truth to this: Studies show that the core provisions of the bill are more popular than the bill itself. But there’s also a reason, rooted in reality, why many Americans worry about Obamacare — its cost.
Most Americans have health care. What they worry about is the cost of insuring 20 million to 30 million more people. Unless the meteoric rise of health-care costs is slowed, a big expansion of coverage might well remain unpopular, no matter how it is explained.
Republican alternatives to Obamacare, such as Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan, don’t bother with expanding coverage, which is a mistake because they leave in place a broken insurance model in which people can freeload. But most do have a strategy to control costs — get consumers to pay for more of their health care. The basic idea is intuitively appealing. Markets produce efficiencies; they presumably would do the same thing in health care.
People aren’t “freeloading”, they are opting out. If you are young and healthy and only see the doctor for annual check-ups and occasional minor injuries and illnesses, paying $1000 month for health insurance is a bad bet. Whether we privatize or socialize the cost of health care we still need to control it.
We spend twice as much (or more) per capita on health care as other industrialized nations. ObamacareTax does nothing to address that disparity. The problem isn’t that health care is inaccessible, it’s that it’s unaffordable.