Friday, November 15, 2013

Oh Doctor

It's a sign of what a debacle Obamacare has become that the President yesterday gave the public a one-year reprieve allowing them to keep their old health care plans.  I never thought he'd do it.  Up till now he's said no to the slightest demands, knowing the law must go forward if it's to have a chance.  To waver (or waiver) is practically total surrender.

Not that his rhetoric signaled he gave up.  He made some apologies in passing, but by and large put on a brave face, saying things are getting better and he will stop any action to bring down the Affordable Care Act. He said there's no way he'll let the GOP drag us back to the broken system we had (but instead we must march forward to a new broken system).  While he's given up trying to claim he didn't mislead when he said the public could keep their plans if they liked them (and if my computer were working better I'd link to contemporary posts noting this wasn't true--and I said so not because I was so smart, but because it was obvious), he's still willing to add insult to injury, explaining to the public that they're apparently too stupid to understand they'd be better off signing onto the government plan.

There must have been tremendous political pressure on the President.  Probably party leaders made it clear he'd better do this or, at the very least, he understood steps would be taken with or without him so he'd best get out in front.  No matter how it happened, alas, it's a pretty cynical move.

First, of course, it's just a one-year deal--in other words, an attempt to put off the problem until just after the 2014 elections.  So a year later the problem will be back as big as ever--and you can throw in the employer mandate as well.

Second just where did he get the power to do this?  The Affordable Care Act is quite a piece of legislation, that apparently is or isn't law based on the President's whim.

Third, he has to know this can't work.  The law has already been passed (as Democrats kept pointing out a few weeks ago during the shutdown) and the insurers have already taken it into account. They've canceled millions of policies and the market has changed. They can't just uncancel them now.  At the very least, that would take a tremendous amount of work (for which they will not receive extra money) and almost certainly higher premiums, not to mention some legally necessary help from state officials. So, in effect, this move doesn't fix the problem, but gives Democrats someone else to blame for it over the next year.

In addition, the one-year reprieve only makes adverse selection in the insurance exchange that much more certain, plunging the overall system--which already was in trouble--into bigger disaster.  The whole point of Obamacare is to force everyone into a government-approved plan, one way or another. If it can't do that, it has no need to exist.

Republicans--and perhaps some Democrats--may still try to pass legislation to deal with the situation, but if it's anything of substance, the President will presumably veto it and, in any case, short of repealing Obamacare, I don't see how they can easily rebuild what has by this point been torn asunder. (I wonder if the insurers would challenge a law that demands they undo what they just did--and I wonder how Chief Justice Roberts would write that opinion.)

The politics has a year to play out, but no matter the result, we've got a strange situation.  There's this massive law, partly enacted, that seems to be on a collision course with itself.  I'm not sure what happens next.  Can it die while it's still on the books?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

CG here, having computer troubles of my own, LAGuy. I'll jump in the pool when I can, which is when I get my computer back from the shop, I hope faster than you are getting yours.

Here's the best line I've read in a few days, in response to an Obamacare official who said they were just trying to avoid making it a third world experience:

"At this point, it could only be more of a Third World experience if required enrollees to pay with chickens."

2:30 AM, November 15, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laugh while you can

2:36 AM, November 15, 2013  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

What galls me is that, had he been willing to include this kind of a deal 4 weeks ago, the Republicans would have accepted they delay as a token gesture and there would not have been a shut down.

8:19 AM, November 15, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does prove that Obama was blindsided by the failure of the website, not to mention the lack of enthusiasm to sign up. If he knew what was happening, he could have finessed the Republicans, appearing to give in while helping himself.

9:08 AM, November 15, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The funniest moment so far was Bill Clinton walking away from the plan to help his wife. He knows what he's suggesting guts Obamacare, and is more than happy to hurt it in any way.

9:13 AM, November 15, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone is looking at this from the wrong point of view. Those who disagree with this based upon the fact that anytime the government gets involved there are always equal and opposite reactions . The perspective that I take is that the failure was actually the plan by the administration. The goal here remember is a single payer system. How do we get there? By colapsing the insurance industry therefore only leaving one viable option...Singlepayer! Interesting what a little perspective can offer. One man's failure is another man's success !

6:41 PM, November 15, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I agree the aim is single payer, but you only get that if Obamacare is up and running.

10:16 PM, November 15, 2013  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Well, duh, of course the aim is single payer. Is there anyone who doesn't know that? But why you think Obamacare has to be up and running to get that is beyond me, LAGuy. A is exactly right-every problem is an excuse to give the people who caused the problem more power.

I'd buy stock in guns and ammunition companies--government enforcement costs are going to go through the roof--but they've probably already been socialized.

10:29 PM, November 16, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Obamacare gives the government power to regulate out health care system far beyond what they were allowed to do before. As long as it's up and running, it can lead to single payer. But if it falls apart, or is repealed, it's absurd to think we'll replace it with single payer. Obama couldn't get that with the House and 60 votes in the Senate, and it'll only be further away if Obamacare falls apart.

11:57 PM, November 17, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Columbusguy, not everyone knows the intended goal is single payer. You do understand that a majority of people in this country are very low information voters that have no idea what the term single payer even means. Also, laguy that 60 votes you said is all out the door at this point, funny how things can change in a weeks time.

7:21 AM, November 23, 2013  

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