A Lemon of a Law

Imagine a young entrepreneur selling lemonade on hot summer days in his neighborhood.  He makes his product from a frozen concentrate, sells it in different size paper cups, and charges between twenty five cents and a dollar, depending on how much lemonade customers want.

Some people in the neighborhood would really like to have lemonade, but can’t afford it.  Some people don’t want lemonade.  But most people are very happy with the lemonade they buy from the young man.

One day, a man approaches the lemonade stand and says, “Hello, I am from the government.  We believe everyone should have high quality lemonade, so we have passed a lemonade reform law.  From now on you have to make your lemonade out of fresh lemons and sell it in only these large crystal goblets.”

“But that sounds really expensive, I can’t afford that,” says the boy.

“Don’t worry, you are now going to charge $5 for your lemonade,” replied the government.

“People won’t pay $5 for lemonade!” said the boy.

“Under the new law we will pay the $5 for those who can’t afford it, and we will force those who can afford it to come here and buy your lemonade, even if they don’t want it,”

“How are you going to pay for people’s lemonade if they can’t afford it?” asked the boy.

“By raising taxes on the people who can afford it!” said the government

“So some people get free lemonade, and everyone else has to pay me $5 even if they don’t want lemonade, or only want a little bit of lemonade?”

“That’s right,” said the government.

“I like this new law!”  said the young businessman.

“We knew you would,” said the man from the government.

 

And so the new law began to go into effect, and, at first, many people were happy because it had never seemed fair that some people could afford lemonade and others couldn’t.   Of course, the people who got free lemonade loved the new law.   And those who sold lemonade loved the new law because the government sent them lots of new customers.

But the majority of people began to realize that lemonade was becoming really expensive, and their choice of lemonade was being taken away, and their taxes were going up.

And the new law became extremely unpopular as people begun to understand what it really did.

A fairy tale?  Take a look at news from last week:

Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted.

Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.

The reason behind the losses is that current plans don’t meet the requirements of ObamaCare, which dictate that each plan must cover a list of essential benefits, whether people want them or not.

And then there is this:

A new CNN/ORC International poll indicates a dramatic turnaround in the battle for control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections.

Democrats a month ago held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge.

The turnaround in the CNN/ORC poll follows similar shifts in recent national surveys from Quinnipiac University and Fox News.

“It looks like the biggest shifts toward the Republicans came among white voters, higher-income Americans, and people who live in rural areas, while Democrats have gained strength in the past month among some of their natural constituencies, such as non-white voters and lower-income Americans,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

“If those patterns persist into 2014, it may indicate that Obamacare is popular among those who it was designed to help the most, but unpopular among the larger group of voters who are personally less concerned about health insurance and health care,” Holland said.

And finally, this:

For 13 years, Gallup has been asking voters whether the government should “make sure” Americans have health insurance. The trends hardly need any explanation, but, well, just look for the moment they flip.

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We all know what happened in 2008: A Democrat won the presidency. Most voters spent the year expecting one to win. Health insurance reform was going to happen. So whose mind did it change?

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There we go: The independents. In two years, from 2007 to 2009, their opposition to mandated health insurance surged by 30 points. It’s stayed largely negative since then, during the Obama presidency. When does that change? What if it doesn’t? It’s the existential fear behind all of the Democratic health care panic—the fear that a public that used to blame private insurers for the cost of health care will start blaming the feds, and never stop.

How does the tale end?  In a democracy, that is up to you.

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Chris Vance

Chris Vance

Former State Representative, County Councilman, and GOP State Chairman. Now working as a Public Affairs Consultant, Senior Advisor to SPI Randy Dorn, and Political Commentator on KING and KCTS TV and Crosscut.com