Why Do Republicans Object to New Federal Health Care Programs?

The Democrats in Congress, without any Republican support, are using the budget reconciliation process to pass a $3.5 trillion spending bill—a bill with a price tag that equals about what the federal government spent in fiscal year 2019.

As reported by The Washington Times:

On the health care front, the bill intends to expand “Democrats’ goal of providing universal health care to all Americans.” This would be achieved by adding “new Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit[s] to the Medicare program,” expanding Obamacare, extending subsidies for home health care workers, and creating a “new federal health program for Americans in the ‘Medicaid gap.’”

The health care provisions in the bill are the biggest health care expansion since Obamacare, and the greatest expansion of Medicare benefits in decades.

Naturally, Republicans in Congress oppose the health care provisions in the bill.


Why do Republicans object to new federal health care programs?

Although Republicans claim to belong to the party of the Constitution, federalism, limited government, less-intrusive government, less-government regulation, and the free market, they have always envisioned a role for the federal government in health care.

Medicaid is government-funded health care for eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with certain disabilities. It is the primary source of health-insurance coverage for low-income populations and nursing-home long-term care.

Medicare is government-funded health care for Americans 65 years old and older and for those who are permanently disabled, have end-stage renal disease, or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a partnership between federal and state governments that provides health insurance to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. CHIP is jointly financed by the federal and state governments, but designed and administered by state governments within federal guidelines.

Republicans love these government health care programs.

In 1997, the Republican-controlled Congress is the responsible for the creation of the CHIP program (then called SCHIP). The program has been reauthorized with Republican support ever since then.

In 2003, the Republican majority in Congress passed Bushcare, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. It was supported by all of the Republican leaders in both Houses of Congress, and passed with overwhelming Republican support before it was signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush. This Republican version of health-care reform expanded Medicare beyond the wildest dreams of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

And according to the Republican Party platform: “We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing. We will preserve the promise of Medicaid as well by making that program, designed for 1965 medicine, a vehicle for good health in an entirely new era.”

And of course, when the Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress during the first two years of Trump’s presidency, they utterly failed to repeal Obamacare. And not only that, Trump and the Republicans proposed a new and improved Obamacare.

Republicans have no philosophical objection to government health care programs or to the government’s forcing of some Americans to pay for the health care or health insurance of other Americans.

Republicans need to read my new book on health care.

Health Care Freedom is a collection of essays written over the past ten years for the Future of Freedom Foundation, the New American magazine, and LewRockwell.com. Throughout these essays, there are seven things relating to health-care freedom that resonate:

  1. ObamaCare is an abomination.
  2. The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to have anything to do with health care or health insurance.
  3. Medicare and Medicaid are welfare and socialized medicine.
  4. It is not the proper role of government to fund, subsidize, regulate, or provide health-care services.
  5. All health-care services should be provided by the free market.
  6. No American should be forced to pay for the health care of any other American.
  7. Health-care freedom is always preferable to government intervention of any kind.

Although I have written other things on this topic, these twelve essays encapsulate my views on the subject.