Obamacare Makes “Choice” a Bad Habit

Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup

Old habits are hard to break, especially when engrained in a person’s ideological makeup. Maybe, that is why the recent admission by an insurance executive is hitting a raw nerve with so many.

“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” said Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, an insurer in Golden Valley, Minn., that is owned by two health systems and a physician group. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.” [1]

The free-market system has always fostered a culture of choice and competition, which our country has grown accustom to. Now, that is now being threatened by Obamacare as we are being told to kick the “choice habit” when it comes to our healthcare.

Outrageous – yes. Shocking – no. Since the beginning of the healthcare debate, Americans have had little say or choice in the matter. Despite the overwhelming majority of Americans voicing their opposition to Obamacare through calls, e-mails, rallies and office visits, the Democrats – particularly former-speaker Nancy Pelosi – blocked out the constituency noise and vowed to push forward with so-called reform.

“You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.” [2]

Even after the bill passed, the Administration had to coerce the American people to participate in it by mandating all individuals to obtain insurance or face a penalty – now dubbed a tax. The choice of going uninsured without consequence is no longer an option.

To woo Americans, we were told the new healthcare law would increase competition within states, ushering in lower prices and better quality – how nothing would change for those who liked their doctors and plans. But, reality caught up with the hype, and shortly after implementation, the free-market guise faded. Cancer patients learned they can’t keep their life-saving providers. Struggling families realized they are unable to retain their limited, catastrophic plans. Seniors are distraught after receiving notice that their long-time, trusted doctors are no longer part of the network.

Each step on the path to Affordable Care has brought a new layer of restriction in choice. Maybe, this is all legislative conditioning to “break” people from their habit. Either way, it hasn’t worked. Just like those in the 80s and 90s, who shunned HMO’s with their limited plans, people are not embracing Obamacare. The majority of voters still disapprove of the law in the polls. Out of the tens of millions who did not have coverage, only 8 million people signed up, and of those enrollees, 74% were already previously insured. Obamacare has failed to achieve a single thing it promised.

It seems like the American people have clearly and consistently voiced their opinion – it’s no to Obamacare, and yes to free-market choice.