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Obamacare champions personal responsibility. The states that hate it don't. (+video)

Bill Clinton rightly defended Obamacare at the Democratic National Convention. Mitt Romney and the GOP say the law neglects personal responsibility, but the opposite is true. Plus, states that voted against the law exhibit the least personal responsibility in health behaviors.

Commentary: Professor Jeffrey Frankel discusses the economics of everything.
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Politicians, particularly Republican candidates, among them Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, like to emphasize the importance of individual responsibility – especially in railing against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Indeed, America was founded by individuals working hard to earn rewards rather than free-riding on the wealth of society.

At the Democratic National Convention this week, Democrats have defended and reclaimed Obamacare as one of President Obama’s signature achievements. (See Bill Clinton’s rousing endorsement last night.) But some Americans seem to be under the impression that the health-care law is a step away from personal responsibility, a step toward socialized medicine. That’s certainly the message they got from the Republican National Convention last week.

As knowledgeable columnists and health-care experts have pointed out, the opposite is the case. It is the pre-Obamacare system that involves free-riding: A patient who shows up in the emergency room is treated even if uninsured, but the hospital has to pass the cost on to the rest of us.


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