After Hobby Lobby, Nick Gillespie Tells Us 3 Ways to Make Obamacare Suck Less

On Monday, the Supreme Court delivered it’s most anticipated ruling of the 2013-14 term with a 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. 

In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito outlined that the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) violated federal law by compelling Hobby Lobby, a family-owned private corporation, to cover certain forms of birth control in their employee health plans that they felt caused abortions thereby violating their religious principles. (You can read Reason’s analysis of the decision here.)

Reaction to the decision was divisive and heated. The right viewed it as a victory for religious freedom, while those on the left paraded the ruling as another causality in the war on women. 

The highly controversial Hobby Lobby decision illustrates another chapter in the sad saga of ObamaCare. From a horribly botched rollout to the argument over contraception (and let’s not forget Pajama Boy), the implementation of ObamaCare has resulted in devastating consequences for our health care system and public discourse. The latest issue of Reason examines the consequences of Obama’s health care reform legislation (online edition can be found here). 

And while it hasn’t been all good news, Nick Gillespie presents us with “3 Ways to Make Obamacare Less Totally Horrible,” written by Gillespie and produced by Joshua Swain. Original release date was July 1, 2014 and the original writeup is below. 

Obamacare is a truly epic mistake, but it's also one that's not going away anytime soon.

With that in mind, here are three ways to immediately make the president’s signature legislative achievement better, cheaper, and more cost-effective.

1. Let anyone buy "catastrophic plan."

As it stands, only people under 30 years of age and a few other folks can buy cheap"catastrophic plans" that cover few regular procedures but protect you against very costly medical emergencies. Catastrophic plans are much cheaper than the cheapest comprehensive bronze plans at

One of the selling points of Obamacare was that it would let people choose plans that fit their needs. If a catastrophic plan is what you want, why not be allowed to buy one despite your age?

2. Force insurers to compete across state lines. 

Health insurance companies, in cahoots with state insurance commissions, have carved up their territories like old-school mob families.

A true national market that would force insurers to compete across state lines for customers on the basis of price and service. A national market would expand consumer options and eventually lead to new ways of doing business. It works in auto and home insurance and would work with health insurance, too.

3. Grow the supply of medical care already. 

Obamacare increases the demand for medical care but does virtually nothing to grow its supply.

That’s a recipe for shortages and long wait times.

The quickest way to grow the supply of health care is to ditch all sorts of barriers ranging from super-slow FDA approval processes for new drugs and devices to protectionist professional licensing to tightly restricted medical school admissions. Almost three dozen states give existing hospitals an indirect say in whether new, competing hospitals can be built!

Scrapping all of these rules and more would make health care easier and cheaper to get.

Obamacare is not just a dumb law but a deeply offensive one. In a perfect world, it would be repealed and we’d actually move toward a true free market in health care (even before Obamacare, local, state, and federal governments were spending nearly 50 cents of each buck spent on health care).

But in the world we actually live in, Obamacare isn’t going away any time soon. The least we can do in the meantime is make it less horrible.

About 2.30 minutes. Written by Nick Gillespie and produced by Joshua Swain.

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  • x4rqcks3f||

    4. Stop using grow transitively in place of expand or increase.

  • Dweebston||

    Better yet, since government grows nothing, transitively or otherwise,

    3. Grow Permit the supply of medical care to grow already.

    Or, best of all,

    3. Quit curtailing the growth of medical care.
  • Atanarjuat||

    Now it's something you do

    I think Nick used it since it sounds more to the point and less dry and technical. I like Dweebston's latter option best though.

  • Hyperion||

    It will never suck less until it's collapse. Any government program once enacted, never sucks less, it sucks more, like a growing gorging parasite.

  • Pi Guy||

    Every one of those are free market responses. In other words, what we'd do in the absence of the ACA, Executive Branch regulatory overreach, and cronyism.

    The grafters and rent seekers will never go for it.

  • robc||

    My wife is running into #3 right now.

    She needs a surgery, but the doctor who can do it is on vacation and has another coming up and cant consult until mid-August, then may or may not be able to schedule the surgery in September.

    Its not that big of a deal, and we are trying to find a local option that can happen sooner, but its freaking annoying.

    Its not Canada-level suck, but it still sucks.

  • Hyperion||

    And to think! Every country in the world could make you wait that long, except for the USA! Well, we had to fix that!

    Well, it's all for the best, the majority of us peons aren't worthy for first world medical care, unlike our genius overlords in DC.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The federal government is not doing the scheduling for robc's doctor, you idiot.

    (Unless she is in the VA system)

  • robc||

    The government (not necessarily Federal) creates "Certificate of Need" rules that arbitrarily restrict supply.

    Not to mention AMA requirements. Which I believe is Federal.

  • Hyperion||

    Good grief, you insufferable dickweed, how old are you? I've never seen wait times like there are now for doctors appointments in the USA. Let's see, what should I contribute that to? Let me guess, BOOOOSSSHHH!!!

    You fucking dipshit, where's the emails? Why does the IRS store emails on HDs when the rest of the civilized world stores them on servers, with backups. Come on, you little ass kissing pussy, we know you have the answer.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    What? Are you on Medicare? Reform that POS monster first.

    The ACA only has 8 million insured on it and according to critics most of those were previously insured. The ACA is not causing long lines at all.

  • Dweebston||

    Did you expect anyone here disagrees with that?

    Or is your contention really that Obama's shitsandwich isn't all that odorous relative to the dungpile it's tossed atop, so we should swallow it and smile gratefully?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I honestly believe that we will eventually privatize all health care delivery and put VA/Medicare type recipients onto an exchange.

    Think Paul Ryan's voucher system meets the ACA.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|7.5.14 @ 8:03PM|#
    "I honestly believe that..."

    No body cares what the turd "believes". Fuck off.

  • Hyperion||

    You're full of shit, as usual. I'm not on Medicare and I have the best health insurance available in the US. Wait times have dramatically increased. A large number of doctors have retired or went concierge.

    As usual, you know nothing about what you are talking about.

    Where's the emails, dickweed?

  • ||

    Come on, guys. PB is an obvious troll, and has been for some while. Don't even engage him. I wouldn't be surprised if he's just FOE getting laughs out of all the commentariat that get so worked up over what PB espouses.

  • Mark22||

    Along with the ACA chimes a boatload of regulations that make it less and less attractive to practice medicine, leading to shortages.

    That is in addition to the longstanding shortages deliberately created by protecting doctors from competition, which the article was referring to.

    Obama with ACA has given another big handout to insurers and hospitals, while failing to do the few simple things that would actually have improved coverage and service.

  • Pi Guy||

    Hype, help me out here. I find myself envious of the LA- and NYC-area HyRers who get together for drinks and hang out. Although I'm more a lurker than a regular these days, especially around here these midnight-blue state parts, I don't know many libertarians. I'd like to do something similar. But I'd have to start talking it up to get it rolling.

    I know you're in the Balto-DC-MD area. Here are others that I think are in the general area:
    - Pi Guy
    - my wife (who very occasionally posts as Mrs. Pi Guy)
    - Hyperion
    - Raven Nation
    - JW
    - John
    - Certified Public Asskicker
    - more recently, Sloop and Banjos
    ? MJGreen

    Who else?

    Of course, you can always just tell me to fuck off. I'm not easily offended.

  • Hyperion||

    I know 2 more libertarians here in Balmer area, that don't post here. Or if they do, they don't admit to it. One of them is a Reason mag subscriber, but tells me he doesn't post here.

    Where are you?

  • Pi Guy||

    Manchester. Just into Carrollabama near Pretty Boy. You?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Whoah, I live in Carroll too.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Kaptious Kristen is a real D.C. Federal bureaucrat and HnRer. Also, piss off wit'cha.

  • Pi Guy||

    I forgot about Kristen. And I know that I've thought that there are others who wrote something that've made me think that they were nearby.

    Thx, Atanarjuat.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Kristen is in the DC area

  • ||

    I'm from LA originally, but am here in DC for the summer for an internship. I'm always up for drinking at any time of the day.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    It would be a nice feature on HyR to create a mechanism for scheduling local meetups.

    I bet everyone (with the exception of Atlanta Reasonoids) would like that.

  • JW||

    I do the Battle of the Beltways commute. Live outside DC, work in Bal'mer. I'm game for drinks and whatnot.

    Oh, and fuck off.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I don't usually lurk on the weekends, but I did see this and would be up for something, especially if it is slow moving because I have the second kid due this month so I will be short on free time in the short term.

  • ||

    Me ... Leesburg.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    For you Peanuts that watch the World Cup, that Dutch-Costa Rica match was filled with tedious offsides calls. FIFA needs a blue line like hockey has.

  • Hyperion||

    Did they lose any emails?

  • Ted S.||

    Did you know all those offsides calls were BOOOOOOOOOSH'S fault?

  • Almanian!||

    Just 8%

  • Timon 19||

    It's not FIFA's fault the Dutch didn't know how to stay within the laws of the game.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    A drone flew through a fireworks display and took this video:

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Will Al-Quaeda and IS (formerly ISIS) play a game of jihadier-than-thou at the expense of the West?

  • Warrren||

    I don't think we should let these guys immigrate.

  • Pathogen||

    But, those window-breakers are virtually guaranteed to stimulate the economy, and force a serious conversation about infrastructure repair...

  • SIV||

    "Why do you hate brown people?"

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "1. Let anyone buy "catastrophic plan."

    The left will howl like banshees over that.

    The whole point of Obamacare is massive wealth redistribution.

    One of the main mechanisms of that redistribution is to force huge gobs of people to buy far more coverage (at far higher prices) than they need or would ever voluntarily buy on their own so that they are forced to subsidize other people with pre-existing conditions and older folks who typically have more expensive health problems.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "One of the selling points of Obamacare was that it would let people choose plans that fit their needs. If a catastrophic plan is what you want, why not be allowed to buy one despite your age?"

    Another selling point was that the taxpayers were paying for emergency-room care for people who refused to buy insurance. Therefore, to spare taxpayers this expense, if someone didn't buy insurance they should have to pay a totally-not-a-tax-oh-wait-yes-it-is.

    Remember, they got this idea from a paper once published by CATO, so it's obviously totally cool!

    But try to buy a catastrophic insurance plan, and the feds could well tell you - "doesn't count, you should have bought a non-emergency plan, so we'll make you pay the penaltax which was *supposed* to induce people to pay for their emergency coverage."

    Bait and switch?

  • Sevo||

    "Remember, they got this idea from a paper once published by CATO, so it's obviously totally cool!"
    Got a link on that? I'd like to see how closely it matches what we got.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Heritage, not Cato. Here's Forbes from 2012:

    The relevant Heritage report (p. 6):


  • Sevo||

    Read pg6:1) your own damn self. The first thing the plan requires is removing the tax advantage of employer-provided insurance; equalizing it with individual purchases, which leads to all sorts of projected outcomes.
    It does finally mandate coverage, but that is the ONLY similarity.
    Let's be kind and point out that along with it no being a Cato plan, it also varies drastically from that POS called O-care, OK?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Maybe you could borrow the Secret Service's sarcasm detector?

  • Sevo||

    If so, my apologies. In re-reading, my sarc meter still isn't moving.

  • ||

    "ObamaCare isn't a liberal plan, it's actually conservative/libertarian, Heritage invented it" is a common lefty meme.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Which is my point -it was a bait and switch - they sold the individual mandate like it targeted only those who refused to be insured for emergencies. They spun it as a Heritage-style reform. In reality, many people with emergency coverage are hit by the mandate anyway.


  • Mark22||

    Removing the tax advantage of employer provided plans would have been the most important thing to do. It should have been politically easy (by extending the tax breaks to individuals and other groups), and won bipartisan support.

    But the entire Obamacare plan is designed to maximize profits for insurers by forcing healthy groups to be insured through the private market in desirable group plans, while kicking all the sick people onto publicly subsidized plans or government plans.

    Obamacare is crony capitalism at its pinnacle, brought to you by the crony capitalist in chief.

  • Pathogen||


    crony capitalism = the Koch bros.

    free market = Solyndra.

    Solyndra failed because of the inherent weakness of capitalism in general, and the free market in particular, and highlights the visceral greed that motivates most capitalists (and which most government employees are virtually immune). The malicious and vindictive distortions that wreckers and clingers (such as the oil barons, the Koch bros.) have purposefully instituted in the green energy markets, to shamelessly prop up their own flawed business models, destroyed the planets best hope for survival. Now, if you'll refer to any excellent, thought provoking article written by the brilliant Nobel laureate, and all around decent guy.. Paul Krugman...

  • AlmightyJB||

    Inagree doing that along with eneing the state monopolies would have been the mkst important things to do to get costs under control. You still have to deal with the issues if preexisting conditions and insurance running out, both of which were not going to go away politically. I do know why those bith could not have been handled within the existing medicaid structure with the addition of at leasy partial repayments and potential penelties.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I need a better touchpad or smaller thumbs obviously

  • Antilles||

    As usual, sound advice from Mr. Gillespie. I suggested these very things on the loony-bin known as AlterNet, and was resoundingly condemned as racist, misogynist, stupid and a generally evil person. Rational, common-sense solutions can never work as long as there are so many people who refuse to think for themselves.

  • Gene||

    Rational, common-sense solutions can never work as long as there are so many people who refuse to think for themselves.

    I love that , reminds me of work.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "MADISON – A southern Wisconsin man's vulgar Facebook remarks insulting police don't amount to fighting words because they were made remotely and qualify as protected speech, an appellate judge ruled Thursday....

    "Prosecutors charged Smith, of Arena, in 2012 after he posted profanity-laced comments on Facebook calling Arena officers racists and likening them to male genitalia, among other slurs. He posted the remarks in response to a police Facebook posting thanking community members for helping detain two black juveniles who were fleeing officers.

    "A jury convicted Smith in May 2013."
    [the conviction has now been overturned unless the prosecution appeals to the state Supreme Court]

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The decision (from

  • Ted S.||

    "Prosecutors charged Smith, of Arena, in 2012 after he posted profanity-laced comments on Facebook calling Arena officers racists and likening them to male genitalia

    You'd think the cops would like being likened to male genitalia, since in real life they're a bunch of pussies.

  • Pathogen||

    Saturday night nutpunch.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Precocious. She has a future in the inner party for sure.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I bet they're wishing they'd given their daughter that bicycle she wanted.

  • Pathogen||

    Or... a pony...

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Barnesville is a real shithole. I do have a soft spot for it, though, due to a young gal with loose morals from there that I met in my formative years.

    'She was a very brave, very smart, very articulate little girl,' officer Ryan Beattie told the Minnesota Star Tribune. 'It was almost like interviewing an adult.

    'She appeared to have intelligence far above a normal little girl… She gave some pretty specific information about things, like types of drug paraphernalia, that no young person ought to have knowledge about.'

    Sounds like some local coppers are covering their tracks here. If I was a defense attorney I'd get her on the stand and make sure she really was that articulate.

    I'll go out on a limb and guess that there is no video or audio of this Algonquin Roundtable on the prairie interview with this girl.

  • Pathogen||

    Hey! That's a lot of conjecture and speculation on your behalf, citizen. This young hero's actions were entirely rational and altruistic, acting entirely out of the clear understanding of her civic duty to her community, and her social responsibility in aiding the police to crush the morally corrosive effect of the drugs on our great nation. What you're suggesting is bordering on... seditious! What are you hiding, citizen?

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    She said she had decided to seek help because the smell of the pot smoke made her feel sick, and she also worried about her dog's health because her parents would blow smoke into its mouth.

    Meh. Maybe if you don't want your daughter to rat you out, how about not being a couple of douchenozzles? As much as I think pot should be legal, it's a bit hard to care about these morons.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, I sure hope somebody's told to get the fuck out of the house on her 18th birthday.

  • SIV||

    But in the world we actually live in, Obamacare isn’t going away any time soon. The least we can do in the meantime is make it less horrible.

    So is Nick saying "Mend It Don't End it" or "Repeal and Replace"?

  • Pathogen||

    The nonstop disaster whack-a-mole that is Obamacare™, is like watching monkeys drink their own piss.. America needs this, now more than ever. Why would you deny America this parade of fuckups with inflammatory talk of "Repeal and Replace"? TeaBigot!

  • Mark22||

    You left out the most important policy change: eliminate the special tax and legal treatment of employer health plans and group plans and open that up to individuals and other groups. That way, the choices individuals have might grow beyond employer provided health care and Obama's lousy exchanges

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'll try this reply again, hopefully with better spelling. I agree having people paying for their own policies along with ending the state monopolies would have been the most important things to do to get costs under control and to allow more choices to consumers. You still have to deal with the issues of preexisting conditions and insurance running out, both of which were and are not going to go away politically. I don't know why those both could not have been handled within the existing medicaid structure with the addition of at least partial repayments and potential penalties.

  • Mark22||

    Preexisting conditions and insurance running out are mainly a problem resulting from the current employer based system, plus the non-market pricing built on top of it.

    Realistically, almost nobody needs to run out of insurance in a private market because, in the end, health care isn't really that costly in the real world.

    Personally, I actually like the Singaporean system: it requires everybody to contribute to a health savings account up to a limit (once you reach that, there are no more contributions unless you start using it), and has cheap, privately administered catastrophic insurance. It covers everybody, causes consumers to watch their spending, and causes doctors to compete on price. It also results in better health outcomes.

  • ||

    Taiwanese girl's corneas devoured by amoebae after reusing contacts for 6 months

    The girl had a short-sightedness with about -7 to -8 dioptres. She continued to use the same pair of disposable contact lenses, which were supposed to be used for one month only, for over six months. During this period, she didn't take them out for cleaning or for sleeping. After having difficulties taking the contact lenses out due to her red painful eyes, she went to the hospital and was diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a disease in which amoebae invade or devour the eye cornea.

    It was reported that both corneas of her eyes were nibbled away by the amoeba to about half of the normal size. The cornea in her right eye was seriously damaged and her eyesight was badly affected, meaning that she can't undergo laser eye surgery in the future. It was suspected that the girl got this disease through the dirty tap water while washing her face.

    I don't wear contacts (or glasses), but I think I could figure out that this is a bad idea.

  • Pathogen||

    I blame Bush!

  • ||

    Parking is not a public good

    Writers at Salon, Slate, and Time have criticized new San Francisco-based apps that allow users to purchase access to a parking spot as another driver is leaving it. The apps MonkeyParking, Sweetch, and ParkModo provide a platform for drivers to let others know when they’re leaving a spot, and reserve the spot until the another user bidding on the spot arrives to pull in. As of last week, the future of these apps is unknown since San Francisco issued a cease and desist order based on the city’s rule against auctioning or leasing public parking spots. All three writers express outrage that the apps’ creators and users are profiting off of government-owned parking spots...

    One problem with this line of reasoning is that parking is clearly not a public good. It is both perfectly rivalrous and easily excludable. Unlike a public good, the price system provides the right incentives for suppliers to provide the optimal amount of parking based on consumers’ willingness to pay. While Leonard uses the term public good, he may mean simply a good that the government provides...

    Besides it being a magical incantation for statists, I think many folks think the "good" in "public good" is like that in "that was a good milkshake", as opposed to "goods and services".

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    There's really nothing to their outrage over these apps other than that they just feel wrong because it exists outside the purview of government.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Nice. Get a group of folks to grab a bunch of choice spots in a choice area right before a busy time. Bid out your spots and split the revenues. Wonder how much you could bring in?

  • Sevo||

    What the butt-hurts are leaving out is that the SF city gov't is *already* providing a similar service and really doesn't like competition.
    Now the gov't service is FREE, and it seems it's worth every penny, since someone figured out how to make money from the effort and people would rather use that service and pay for it.
    Hmm, sounds familiar...

  • Dweebston||

    At the very least it puts a price tag on parking, and possibly, the wider spread it is, that price better matches the value of those spots at those times. Assuming everyone in the city used it, coordinating junkets into the populous parts of the Bay would be easier and less exasperating than driving aimlessly for a quarter hour to locate a spot.

  • Almanian!||

    Jesus FUCKING Christ. Nick. How many times we gotta go through this.

    Three things that will improve the PPACA:

    1) Repeal it
    2) Repeal it
    3) Keep it repealed.

    THAT'S IT. Anything else sucks. Mmmmkay? FUCK! Get it right!

  • ||

    THAT'S IT. Anything else sucks. Mmmmkay? FUCK! Get it right!

    Something can suck but still represent an improvement from its previous, more sucky state.

  • Almanian!||

    Half measures are useless in this instance.

  • ||

    Why, exactly?

  • AlmightyJB||

    I would agree. Next president needs to just end it. If this president has the authority to grant exceptions and change whatever he wants to, then clearly the next president has the authority to just end it.

  • lap83||

    If it's a Republican president he needs to end it because he'll be blamed for anything bad that happens anyway. Why not go for broke?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Unfortunately, too many of them want to play Charlie Brown to the media's Lucy holding the football.

  • vserve629||

    Dude that makes no sense at all man.


  • ||

    You left out the number 1 reason:

    Let everyone buy individual policies instead of forcing them to get insurance from their employer.

    The ACA does two things: A) mandates that employers offer insurance.
    B) denies insurance subsides to people who opt out of their employer-based plans.

    Together, than means that most people are basically being arm-twisted into taking what their employer offers, instead of seeking their own insurance plan.

    I'm opposed to the regulated exchanges, but letting individuals buy their own policies on the exchange would be a vast improvement over forcing them to accept their employer-based plan.

  • ant1sthenes||

    "2. Force insurers to compete across state lines. "

    I think that should be considered a condition of participating in the federal exchanges (of which there would then only be one). I mean, I think the ACA should blasted into nothingness with the fire of a thousands suns, but taking it as a given, this.

  • BigT||

    "2. Force insurers to compete across state lines. "

    How libertarian!

    Permit insurers to compete across state lines and provide any type of policy they like.



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