| November 6, 2012

Obamacare Medicaid expansion: A clash of visions

When the Supreme Court issued its ruling this summer on the president’s health care law, we were reminded once again that Obamacare represents a clash of visions. As I pointed out at the time, birds of a feather flock together. Praise for the law and/or the ruling

came from the likes of the National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union and several other labor unions, the Economic Policy Institute, the Center for American Progress, Planned Parenthood, Michael Moore, the Oklahoma Policy Institute, the National Abortion Rights Action League, the Human Rights Campaign (which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights), the National Organization for Women, People for the American Way, the Tulsa World, The Nation, People’s World, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO), state Sen. Al McAffrey, state Sen. Tom Adelson, state Rep. Mike Brown, several members of the Religious Left, an Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman Wallace Collins. Even President Obama himself took time to celebrate …

From the right, criticism came from the likes of The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Family Research Council, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, state Rep. Mike Ritze, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Americans for Tax Reform, the National Right to Life Committee, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Women for America, the National Taxpayers Union, various Tea Party organizations, and Oklahoma Republican Party chairman Matt Pinnell.

Late last month we were reminded once again that Obamacare indeed represents a clash of visions. Conservative U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, a physician who has treated Medicaid patients, wrote to Gov. Mary Fallin urging her to reject the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. A few days later, state Sen. Jim Wilson, one of the most liberal members of the Oklahoma Senate, wrote to Gov. Fallin urging her to embrace the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Honestly, I don’t know how much clearer it can get.

Now what complicates matters slightly is that, as University of Pennsylvania political scientist John J. DiIulio, Jr. has pointed out, “big government” now encompasses more than just government. It also involves

the workers of businesses and non-profit organizations paid or subsidized by one or more levels of government to help administer programs in defense, homeland security, health care, consumer-product safety, environmental protection, and so on. Indeed, big government in America involves far more than government: It involves Big Inter-Government (BIG) plus BIG’s Private Administrative Proxies (PAP) and their non-government but tax-paid employees. Let’s call it BIG PAP for short.

This is why the likes of Big Pharma, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association supported Obamacare, and why some of their Oklahoma confreres (most notably the Oklahoma Hospital Association) are pushing hard for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Some of the people in this orbit are significant GOP players, which could help explain why Gov. Fallin has not yet put the kibosh on Mr. Obama’s “bribe to radically expand our state Medicaid program” (to use the apt phrase of OCPA distinguished fellow Andrew Spiropoulos).

Here’s hoping the state’s largest newspaper is right that Dr. Coburn’s warning will make Gov. Fallin’s decision easier. The stakes are simply too high. As Spiropoulos rightly says, “[T]his law is a deadly threat to our economy, constitutional principles and institutions, and even character. We will fight this pernicious scheme at every turn and for as long as it takes to dismantle it and begin the path to health care reforms that follow from, and do not flout, the principles of liberty.”

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