Diary

Liberals Are Shielding Obamacare Rationing Board with Bogus Budgetary Argument

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s remarks on the House floor Thursday were emblematic: he supports repealing the health care rationing board established by Obamacare, but only if it’s “paid for.”

With the House scheduled to vote on repealing the “Independent Payment Advisory Board” (IPAB) this week, liberals are increasingly relying on this bogus argument in what appears to be an effort to cloak their support for rationing health care — the “I tried it but I didn’t inhale” defense of IPAB, if you will.

In the debate on the House floor, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy quickly exposed the illogic of Hoyer’s stance.

IPAB “hasn’t even created a board yet,” McCarthy said, adding, “what you’re saying is let’s offset something that hasn’t even been created.”

Most people think of expenses as things that require money to be spent for them to happen or exist. Accountants think of expenses as either the outflow of assets or an incursion of liabilities. Liberals think of expenses as assigning an imaginary dollar figure to something that doesn’t exist based on what it might do if it did — so long as they wanted it to exist in the first place.

This is how IPAB, which has lain dormant for seven years in the face of overwhelming public opinion, never having saved a dollar or even held a meeting, might be considered something Congress would need to cut other spending to “pay for.”

It’s interesting Democrats like Hoyer so often cry “where are the spending cuts?” when it’s they that are principally responsible for killing every proposed spending cut that comes before them. And all too often, this phony concern is used in service of protecting big government, ensuring that our nation remains drowning in red ink.

If (hopefully) repealed this year, IPAB will find its end before it ever subjected Americans to harm. But make no mistake, it is a pernicious policy and an even more dangerous precedent.

First, a secretive board of experts should not be entrusted with arbitrarily deciding what types of health care Americans are allowed to have and what types are “too expensive.” This will inevitably politicize health care and is bound to fail miserably at containing costs.

Rationing fails because it changes neither the demand for a good nor the supply, substituting shortages or waiting time for price increases while omitting the profit motive that inspires companies to begin producing more of something that people want.

The authors of Obamacare admitted as much by implication when they designed IPAB to be secretive and unaccountable.

Why else would they have felt it necessary to include an egregiously unconstitutional provision prohibiting Congress from repealing IPAB? In trying to foist unpopular health care rationing on the public, they decided to shunt the inconvenient Constitution to the side.

But for IPAB, standing in front of a congressional “death panel,” the situation is looking grim indeed. Obamacare’s audacious “illegal to repeal” clause will offer no protection against a duly enacted law, and neither will crocodile tears over arcane budget rules.

It’s time for end-of-life counseling for a program that should never have been enacted in the first place. IPAB’s repeal can’t come soon enough — good on the House for moving to bring the repeal bill to the floor.