04.11.13 4:11 PM ET
Why is Obama Taxing a Pre-existing Condition?
Obama's America, where a private insurance company can't charge you more for being a smoker (because loving to inhale a mixture of tobacco and chemicals directly into your lungs is a pre-existing condition, obviously), but where the government can add a nearly dollar per pack to cigarette taxes to fund pre-K education.
Among President Obama’s half trillion dollars in tax hikes is a 94 cent tax on cigarettes expected to raise $78 billion over ten years. The president wants to spend it on early education.
Meanwhile, healthcare exchanges created by Obamacare are starting to classify cigarette smoking as a pre-existing condition, prohibiting insurance companies for charging more to customers who take a higher risk by smoking.
As Kevin Williamson notes at National Review, we should expect more of this as ObamaCare ramps up in the near future:
There will be thousands and thousands of decisions like this in the coming years, and voters will have very little recourse against them. That is part of the genius of bundling the welfare state with the regulatory state: Whether you are a Democrat who basically likes Obamacare and wants to revisit a few of its flaws or a Republican committed to tearing it up root and branch, you have basically the same hurdle to clear. It might be easier to sell the idea of revision to the general public, but the structural legislative barrier is the same as if you were repealing the law wholesale. The question of ending “discrimination” against smokers is so many levels removed from democratic accountability that even those who are strongly opposed to the idea will probably have no effect.
I disagree with Kevin's statement that "ObamaCare is designed to destroy the insurance market." I don't disagree with the idea that, left unchecked, that's effectively what it will do.