The Immorality Of Repealing Obamacare

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 27 2015 @ 12:47pm

Michael R. Strain dismisses it:

In a world of scarce resources, a slightly higher mortality rate is an acceptable price to pay for certain goals — including more cash for other programs, such as those that help the poor; less government coercion and more individual liberty; more health-care choice for consumers, allowing them to find plans that better fit their needs; more money for taxpayers to spend themselves; and less federal health-care spending. This opinion is not immoral. Such choices are inevitable. They are made all the time.

Chait pushes back:

Rather than wade into the trade-offs created by repealing Obamacare, [Strain] simply asserts the conclusion is obvious:

“Repealing Obamacare could — although wouldn’t necessarily — result in more people dying. But it clearly would not be immoral.” I don’t understand how this sort of language (“it clearly would not be immoral”) could be used to defend any moral choice. Moral choices are subjective by definition. Some people believe the level of medical deprivation caused by repealing Obamacare would be moral. Some people think it would be moral to force the staff of the American Enterprise Institute to engage in gladiatorial bouts to the death for our amusement. The problem here isn’t that Strain offers the wrong answer but that he offers the wrong kind of answer.

I personally consider the kinds of trade-offs caused by repealing Obamacare wildly immoral. Repealing Obamacare does not raise questions about luxuriously expensive treatments. It raises questions about access to basic forms of care that, in my opinion, should be available to all Americans.

Beutler piles on:

Conservatives want to enact sweeping changes to Medicare, but they don’t propose repealing that program and then replacing it at some later date. This is partly because any party platform that included outright Medicare repeal would lose, but it’s also because conservatives recognize that it would be an immoral way to treat elderly people who budgeted their retirement savings with the expectation that their medical bills would be mostly covered. The moral and political implications parallel each other.

But that’s exactly what conservatives want to do with Obamacare.