H. L. Mencken, known as the “Sage of Baltimore,” was an influential American journalist. Perhaps his most famous quote was: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Any observer of the current healthcare debate can attest to the accuracy of Mencken’s quote.
Politicians hope to profit from Mencken’s astute observation. The twin debacles of Obamacare and the recently introduced American Health Care Act promise more debt, bigger government and higher taxes. Democrats want Obamacare. The Socialist wants a single payer system. Republicans repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare when it didn’t count, but do not have the political courage to vote for materially repealing Obamacare or enacting a substantive American Health Care Act, when it does count. It really doesn’t matter.
Mencken also did not believe in representative democracy. He believed representative democracy was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Never was this truer. Just take a look at Congress. The average American realizes that you cannot spend more than you have. This concept seems to have completely escaped Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. But these politicians are betting on the immutability of Mencken’s quote and know if they only engage in enough political theater and make enough promises that cannot be kept, the American public, like lemmings, will eagerly follow them into the financial abyss.
Our political leaders hope the public believes two of their lies:
1. We can afford to insure everybody.
2. The healthcare system, as it is currently configured, reimbursed and defrauded, can treat everybody.
It is comforting to believe these two lies. However, unless we begin to face the truth, we will go broke. At least we will prove Mencken wrong.