Why do the Koch brothers want to defund Obamacare?
The Koch Brothers oppose Obamacare and work to defund and repeal the law. They view health care reform as an intrusion by the government into the private markets and an entitlement. Koch Industries are the second largest privately owned company in the United States.
The Koch Brothers wield a lot of political influence through extensive donations and networks of institutions such as the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. They have changed the political landscape in the US through their American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC organization which presents Conservative ideas in the form of state-level legislation.
Their overriding philosophy is for a small and limited government. Comparison shopping is a proven method for finding the right health insurance policy coverage. Comparison shopping can find the best fit for a consumer’s individual or family circumstances.
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Strong Opposition to the Affordable Care Act
The Koch Brothers were central actors in opposition to the Affordable Care Act. They sponsored ads that gave sharply negative views of the new health law, and some deeply critical statements were not based on facts or evidence.
The willingness of opposition groups funded by the Koch brothers to reach to false or misleading statement demonstrated the intensity of their fight. Their surrogate groups persuaded young people to avoid the law. The decision to forego regular medical care that could detect early conditions that could shorten their lives raises an ethical question that goes beyond politics.
The amount of funds and the level of discourse reflected the intensity of the struggle for and against Obamacare.
- Disinformation about coverage and rights. Many of the ads run by Koch-funded groups deliberately misled the audience about the conditions and requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
- Urging young people to refuse to participate.
- Political opposition candidates got a tremendous amount of financial and advertising support from Koch Industries and its surrogate organizations.
Support for Free Markets
The Koch Brothers follow a view that the government has no role in regulating businesses and markets except perhaps to curtail criminal activity. They promote maximum feasible freedom for private companies to act in their best interests. Free markets would include medical underwriting and discriminatory pricing by insurance companies.
The Affordable Care Act banned these practices with tightly limited exceptions. The theory of the Affordable Care Act was that the insurance industry did not serve the public interests as well as need to be.
Ordinary features of life, such as pregnancy and childbirth, were assigned for ratings and price penalties. Sick children were often uninsurable, and age caused large increases in insurance payments. Coverage was often poor resulting ion financial burdens for the insured persons when cost sharing and coverage limits play a role.
Opposition to Government Regulation
The Koch brothers oppose the individual mandate and the requirement for universal coverage by insurers. Although the idea of the mandate came from their Heritage Foundation, it was in opposition to the single payer option. Thus, it was an effort to reduce the role of government.
Koch Industries has its base in oil and gas and the chemicals derived from it such as formaldehyde. Their industrial activity contributes a substantial amount of pollution to air, land, and waterways. They oppose regulations in these areas as well as the health care reform.
Opposition to Entitlements
The Koch Brothers oppose federal entitlements. The Libertarian philosophy places heavy emphasis on personal responsibility. Government entitlements reduce the population’s will to succeed without help.
While the Affordable Care Act is not an entitlement, it does require insurers to accept applicants without regard to prior medical conditions. The universal acceptance rule is a change that reduces the freedom of businesses in favor of protecting citizens.
The below-listed items are among the large number of issues that the Koch brothers actively oppose:
- Subsidies to businesses for ethanol.
- Unions and the collective bargaining process.
- Social services including those for the sick, elderly, and disabled.
Opposition to Social Programs
The Conservative and Libertarian approaches would diminish the role of the government. They would not support the clear majority of social programs that exist today. The idea of limited government is not new, and it has been a persistent voice through the nation’s history.
The extent that the Koch Brothers would reduce the role of government would be alarming to millions of Americans that have relied upon the social contract including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Opposition to Government Funding
The Koch view is that government funds follow the limited role of government. Their view is that small government does not reach into private markets or the lives of its citizens.
The Affordable Care Act reforms the insurance industry, provides financial assistance and expands the number of people with insurance coverage.
Medicaid Expansion illustrates the goal of the ACA. The expansion raised the limit for getting Medicaid coverage so that those with too little income for Obamacare would have regular medical care.
The Koch Brothers Oppose Taxes
The Koch brothers opposed the Cadillac tax provision that penalizes overly generous employee health benefits. Koch Industries provides health benefits that clearly exceeded the below-listed limits set in the Affordable care Act.
- $10,200 for individual coverage in 2017
- $27,500 for family coverage in 2017
The Koch Brothers Oppose Government Assistance
The basic DNA of the Koch Bothers approach is that government should not create benefits, entitlements, or regulate the industry for the public benefit. They back their Conservative Libertarian philosophy with millions in political and institutional funding. Their impact is apparent in elections on the state and federal levels. They have invested their efforts in the idea that government should not interfere with private businesses and free markets.
The opposition to Obamacare was remarkable for its investment and intensity but not for its quality. They oppose government spending and social actions of nearly every kind. Comparison shopping is the ideal way to find the best values in health insurance. Comparison shopping can emphasize the features most important to the consumer.
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