Saturday, December 21, 2013

Losing It Over Obamacare

I know, I know.  That every GOP hack who wants to stay on Fox News and so on must relentlessly spout idiotic drivel about the old Heritage Foundation plan cooked up by Stuart Butler back in 1989 and supported by many Republicans, even being adopted successfully in MA by one Mitt Romney as governor, although all shifting into massive opposition when Obama came out for it in an effort to gain GOP support (hah!).  So, I should not waste my or anybody else's time pointing out the specific lies and stupidities emitted by any such "pundit."

However, I cannot resist in the case of Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post of Dec. 20, 2013.  Yes, he is an old GOP Fox hack neocon, but partly due to the latter he occasionally shows signs of intelligence on domestic economic policies, even as on foreign policy he is AIPAC squared.  So, in his WaPo column he really shows the pathetic state of those trying to block the implementation of Obamacare (OK OK, "ACA").  It may be that I am using him to complain about a syndrome so entrenched that we do not even pay it any more mind. But the basis of its ongoing constant diatribes on this matter are becoming increasingly inane and absurd.  So, I shall pick this particular column apart.

He starts out with the legit complaint that Obama's claim that nobody would lose their insurance under Obamacare is the "lie of the year," but then goes off the deep end immediately afterwards with declaring that nobody knew "just how radical Obamacare is."  While it promised free mammograms (shocking!) and all kinds of things, it is in reality just a "full-scale federal takeover."  Really?  In fact, for all its supposed radicablism, after it the US will remain the only OECD nation not providing health care to all its citizens and also the only one besides Mexico with a system that is majority private sector, with the insurance companies making lots of money out of it, even as Krauthammer somehow thinks that they are going to be in deep doo doo that they deserve because they "colllaborated with the White House in concocting this scheme and now are being swallowed by it."  Yes, the evil federal government made them wait a whole month to start collecting premia from those who are not clear about their status with them in the new system, but this is not exactly the end of their profitability, and last time I checked they are mostly doing pretty well in terms of their stock valuations, shame on them!

The list of other false issues he repeats is long.  So, the exchanges must get young healthy people to sign up or it is doomed according to him, whereas all it needs is healthy people with not much gain from getting especially young ones.  Many millions will be dumped from their old plans and forced to get ones costing much more than those, whereas it looks like most who are losing their old insurance will get plans that are either better or cost less or both (not necessarily everybody).  Employers will be able to cancel their old plans, but gee, Charles, they have that right right now.  People will lose their doctors and their drug coverage, although so far the number of such cases looks pretty small.  And, oh dear, the HHS Secretary has the power to break the law to loosen some of the requirements to ease the transition!

Needless to say he has not a word to say about any of the good things that are arriving with the plan.  These include the ending of people being turned down for preexisting conditions, perhaps its greatest virtue, the allowing parents to have their children covered until they are 27, and that many people are getting insurance who never had it, even if the SCOTUS ruling has allowed states to reject the Medicaid expansion portion of the act, which may be its greatest benefit overall.

In the end we may have the situation politically that was there when the act was passed so long ago: people like the specific provisions of the law when they are asked about them, but are more negative than positive when asked about what they think of "Obamacare."  Krauthammer joins the ongoing nonstop tirade in certain circles against it, apparently the main GOP theme for next fall's election campaign.  But, while there will doubtless be another round of people being dumped from their plans after New Year's who can show up on Fox for at least another month to complain, some of them legitimately even, the evidence of new outrages is going to get very thin not too long after that, and those ranting like Krauthammer will find themselves having to struggle ever harder and more tendentiously to provide any sort of credible critique of the new program, even if many of us know that the alternative (single payer) it was originally cooked up to hold off would probably be better.

Barkley Rosser


Soccer Dad said...

not a whole lot, if anything new here
if you want to do something useful, why don't you dig up the numbers on how many policys were cancled preACA
AFAIK, no one has done this

Peter said...

Krauthammer: "While it promised free mammograms (shocking!) and all kinds of things, it is in reality just a "full-scale federal takeover."

Like in Massachusetts? While not full-scale, it is the government getting more involved in a health care sector which is dysfunctional. If the Republicans win elections, maybe it will be scaled back. If Democrats do, maybe it will be improved with things like a public option.

Krauthammer: "they"colllaborated with the White House in concocting this scheme and now are being swallowed by it." He doesn't really explore why they did, does he? They did block Hillarycare for whatever reason during the Clinton administration.

run75441 said...


Here read away at Healthbeat Blog by Maggie Mahar. It is pretty well known that insurance companies change policies annually impacting 35% of their policy holders.

Hans said...

Could you please add Professor Thoma to your classic leftest list!

Thank you.