In my latest reading of Core of Conviction: My Story, Michele Bachmann presents many of the usual conservative criticisms of Obamacare: that it cuts Medicare, that it increases demand and thus the price of health care, that it can lead to rationing, etc. Bachmann also criticizes how states require health insurance companies to cover a bunch of things that she apparently does not regard as necessary, resulting in high premiums. In addition, Bachmann not only has a problem with the federal government requiring everyone to have health insurance, but she also disagrees with the Massachusetts plan that had such a requirement, stating that it has left Massachusetts residents with the highest premium rates in the U.S. (See, however, this article, which says that the high premiums are not due to health care reform and that the premiums are high at least in part because of low deductibles and the high number of health professionals.)
Bachmann made another criticism of Obamacare that I had not heard before: that it imposes on makers of medical equipment a tax of $40 billion over ten years, in order to pay for Obamacare. Bachmann thinks that this stifles scientific innovation that could save lives and also money for the health care system. She prefers letting the free market develop innovations, which would result in more jobs and more money for shareholders, encouraging them to invest in more scientific innovation. Is Bachmann accurate in this claim about Obamacare? Well, others have made this criticism about the tax, and this article says that even progressive Democrat Elizabeth Warren has issues with taxing medical equipment makers.
Bachmann makes another interesting point on page 171. She says that we should have a system in which a lot of health insurance companies and health providers are competing for our business. She then asks, “Could the government help the poor, or those who might not be able to make clearheaded decisions?” Her answer is pretty skeptical. I appreciated her question, though, because that’s been a concern that I’ve had about health-insurance in a free market. When there are a bunch of options out there, how can I be sure that I’m picking the right one? And what would happen if there comes a time when I actually need to use the health insurance, and I find that I did not pick the right option (i.e., what I need is not paid for)?
One thing that I liked in my latest reading was that Bachmann highlighted that criticism of the Federal Reserve spans the political spectrum, from Ron Paul to socialist Bernie Sanders. This was a refreshing exception to her usual demonizing of the Left.