Editors at Issues and Insights highlight former President Ronald Reagan’s prescience.

“One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism in a people has been by way of medicine.” Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan made those remarks back in 1961. Sixty years later, the response to COVID-19 was proof positive that he had it exactly right.

Rather than focus on policies that would protect the most vulnerable from COVID, the left seized on public fear of the disease to impose draconian controls nationwide. Previously unthinkable lockdowns became the norm. Mandates that people wear masks and get experimental vaccines became routine. The size of the federal government exploded — going from 21% of GDP in 2019 to 30% in the two years following the outbreak.

Even now, more than three years after COVID hit these shores and long after it has mutated into little more than a severe cold, the Biden administration refuses to lift its “emergency” declaration.

“Extending the emergency is aimed at keeping as many people as possible dependent on Medicaid — the federal-state health program that covers more than one in four Americans — even though large and growing numbers of beneficiaries are ineligible,” noted Joel Zinberg, director of the Paragon Health Institute’s Public Health and American Well-Being Initiative.

Medicaid enrollment has exploded by 30% since the pandemic started, with 19 million more now getting socialized medicine. With the emergency still in place, Zinberg notes, “states can no longer assess and remove ineligible enrollees.”

Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Recovery Act included a sweeping $40 billion expansion of Obamacare.

A recent study published by our friends at the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that in almost half the states in the country, enhanced unemployment benefits with expanded Obamacare subsidies add up to the median wage or more. In 14 states, just these two government programs are equal to $80,000 in wages and benefits. In Washington, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, they add up to more than $100,000 in earned income.