WASHINGTON — The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but for governments it’s not that easy. Once something is given — say, health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans — you take it away at your peril. This is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care. There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some system of national health care has ever abolished it.
The genius of the left is to keep enlarging the entitlement state by creating new giveaways that are politically impossible to repeal. For 20 years, Republicans railed against the New Deal. Yet, when they came back into office in 1953, Eisenhower didn’t just keep Social Security, he expanded it.
People hated “Obamacare” for its highhandedness, incompetence and cost. At the same time, its crafters took great care to create new beneficiaries and new expectations. Which makes repeal very complicated.
The Congressional Budget Office projects that, under Paul Ryan’s “Obamacare” replacement bill, 24 million will lose insurance within 10 years, 14 million after the first year.