This Wall Street Journal editorial offers some worthwhile perspective on the meaning of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) estimates around Republicans’ initial ObamaCare repeal bill:
The CBO attributes “most” of this initial coverage plunge to “repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate.” If people aren’t subject to government coercion to buy insurance or else pay a fine, some “would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums.”
What this finding says about the value Americans attach to ObamaCare-compliant health insurance is damning. If CBO is right, some 14 million people would rather spend their money on something else, despite the subsidies.
In keeping with the general worldview of central planners, if you cease to get something through them, you’ve “lost” it. This attitude permeates government, from charitable grants that local governments give to their preferred charities up to massive federal entitlements. In this case, the government isn’t even just taking credit for something it’s using other people’s money to provide, but behaving as if forcing people to do something gives them that something.
As perverse as that is, it may be the perfect representation of progressive government. It’s like an abusive spouse who rationalizes his or her pathology into the belief that commanding and berating his or her significant other is for the other person’s good.
As for the CBO, the Journal also reminds us that it’s a policy group working off a model, not a mystic order of prophets telling the future.