Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:52 pm

Quote of the day, Healthcare.gov edition

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 6:52 pm
Tags: , ,

Matt Miller in the WaPo:

To listen to Republican laments about Healthcare.gov’s terrible launch, you’d think the GOP was deeply concerned that people who need affordable health insurance are being denied this essential protection thanks to the administration’s incompetence.

But of course nothing could be further from the truth. What conservative officials, pundits and advocates are screaming is closer to the following:

How dare you totally screw up something that we think shouldn’t exist!

How dare you make it hard for poor, uninsured workers to get health coverage we don’t want to subsidize them to purchase!

What did Kathleen Sebelius know and when did she know it, when it comes to the wreck of a train we’ve prayed would be a train wreck all along?

This is what the “logic” of a party of “no” sounds like — where the entire strategy is to create noise, not solutions.

To which I would add, “… and pray to God that you can’t tell the difference.” Because they’ve got nothin’ that America wants.

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14 Comments »

  1. Does it not matter that more people have been forced off their preferred insurance plan than have been “saved” by ObamaCare?

    Comment by NitWitCharmer — Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:12 pm @ 7:12 pm | Reply

  2. Obamacare backfires on everyone

    “Obamacare supposedly makes insurance more affordable. Not really. Health costs are simply shifted. To subsidize insurance for some means raising taxes for others, cutting other programs or accepting larger deficits. Only reducing costs or increasing efficiency can make health care more affordable.

    Obamacare’s main selling point — always implied, sometimes stated — is that health insurance makes people healthier. People without coverage don’t get care and are sicker. This seems compelling but may be wishful thinking. The link between insurance and health is loose, because many uninsured are healthy, some receive care and some ailments defy cure. A recent study of two similar groups in Oregon — one with Medicaid, one without — found few differences in health. Depression was the major exception; those with Medicaid fared better. Mostly, health insurance provides peace of mind.

    The fight over Obamacare is often cast as a sports contest. One side wins, one loses. Actually, both may lose. Republicans are already being hammered for their bad budget behavior. Obama’s preoccupation with his legacy has created more conflict than consensus. Now come those embarrassing Web site problems. Increasingly, Obamacare is backfiring on everyone”

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:17 pm @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  3. @NItWit: First, neither you nor anyone else has any data yet to prove that’s the case. What IS the case, in many instances, is that some people are losing their existing plans because plans weren’t up to the federal minimums.

    Fred: There is in fact a wealth of information correlating lack of health insurance with premature death. That was the case when I reviewed the literature when I was on the health beat, and nothing has come out since then to challenge that correlation.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:42 pm @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  4. Frankly you should read the whole Samuelson column. I thought it was balanced and made convincing points ( although convincing you about anything is more akin to moving a mule along )

    “U.S. health care is a messy mixture of government intervention and private markets. Doctors, hospitals, drug companies and medical device-makers exist mainly in the market. The government regulates and pays them. The system is flawed. Costs are high. There is waste. Still, conflicts reflect muddled public opinion: Americans reject “socialized medicine” but believe health care is a “right.” Despite more subsidies and regulations, Obamacare perpetuates this system of blurred public-private power sharing.”

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:02 pm @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  5. I agree with his description of the system. The problem is that the only other option on offer when the legislating was going on was the status quo, which was even more inefficient. And part of the reason for that was that Obama took single-payer/Medicare-for-all off the table in an attempt to compromise with Republicans, using what was basically their plan.

    Again: the GOP can’t take yes for an answer.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:07 pm @ 8:07 pm | Reply

  6. Also, regarding low enrollment today, we can look again to Massachusetts as a guide.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:08 pm @ 8:08 pm | Reply

  7. Don’t run with scissors

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, October 24, 2013 1:22 am @ 1:22 am | Reply

  8. New and Improved Obamacare

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, October 24, 2013 1:25 am @ 1:25 am | Reply

  9. == It is very clear that few have been able to take advantage of ObamaCare due to it’s failure to launch. Do you disagree?

    == It is very clear that those few who have managed to see their choices of ObamaCare plans have recoiled in horror at the cost. Do you disagree?

    == It is clear that the same mandates that result in high premium, low co-pay high priced plans via ObamaCare also result in high priced plans for workplace America. Do you disagree?

    == It is clear that many millions who had insurance in workplace America have lost it due to ObamaCare mandates and resultant higher costs. Do you disagree?

    == It is clear that for many the choice between paying the fine or buying overpriced ObamaCare insurance will result in paying the fine which is much less of a burden. Do you disagree?

    How do you see more people being insured under ObamaCare than less?

    Face it. ObamaCare is the new Prohibition.

    Progressive/liberal/Democrat failure rhymes throughout American history…

    Comment by NitWitCharmer — Thursday, October 24, 2013 11:50 am @ 11:50 am | Reply

    • Few have taken advantage, but here’s some essential context: 1) The GOP’s Medicare Part D rollout also was plagued with problems that left both consumers and congresscritters screaming, and it was far less complex than this. 2) All we have at this point are anecdotes, not data, regarding enrollment nationally. For example, I can point out that both of my brothers, who are self-employed Type 1 diabetics who could not even GET insurance before, now can get it and get it affordably. The one with full-time employees may even be able to offer his employees health insurance, which he couldn’t do before. 3) When this plan was rolled out on the state level in Massachusetts (under a Republican governor — what was his name, again?), the plan also was slow to attract enrollees, with many people waiting until almost the end of the enrollment period.

      Some people have recoiled in horror at the cost. Some (e.g., my brothers) have been very pleasantly surprised. Again, there are no hard data one way or the other on this point.

      I don’t even know how to respond to your third point, as the Obamacare mandate, as in Massachusetts, does NOT automatically result in high-premium, low-copay plans. Perhaps I am missing your point.

      An unknown number of Americans have lost their insurance, but many employers have used Obamacare as a convenient excuse for dropping coverage. It also is true that many have lost their coverage because their coverage failed to meet minimum standards imposed by the ACA. Aetna, in particular, was scamming a lot of customers with crap coverage whose main appeal was affordability.

      I imagine that a lot of people will pay the fine rather than buy coverage. But that money will be collected without any obligation on the part of any insurer to cover the individual’s costs if he gets sick or hurt, and the actuaries have determined that the government is likely to come out financially to the good on this deal or else the fine would have been higher.

      I foresee that the net number of newly insured Americans will outnumber those who choose not to get insurance. And even more Americans would have insurance if states led mostly by Republican governors or controlled by GOP legislatures had not opted out of the Medicaid expansion. (Fortunately, my own governor, Pat McCrory, is starting to rethink this position.)

      Finally, for all the GOP’s whining, it has dealt in bad faith on this issue from the time Obama was elected. The ACA was developed pretty much as-is at the Heritage Foundation in 1989, then put forth during the first Clinton administration as the GOP response to Hillarycare. It was enacted in Massachusetts under Mitt Romney, and that state’s residents love it. When Obama took office, he deliberately dispensed with single payer or Medicare-for-all options sought by many liberals and turned to the GOP’s own plan in an attempt to compromise with Congressional Republicans, even though it was going to be a windfall for private insurance companies. The GOP couldn’t take yes for an answer and has yet to propose a single plan that would accomplish the same goals. (A few bills have passed the House, but none that health-care economists take seriously.)

      Finally, Prohibition was undone by Democrats. When Democrat and Catholic Al Smith ran for president in 1928 against Republican Herbert Hoover, the Democrats were denounced as the party of “rum, Romanism and rebellion” (i.e., the Civil War), so I don’t know what kind of weird-ass parallel you’re trying to draw here, but it doesn’t have a basis in history.

      The Republicans’ policy approach has been “You better hope you die fast so your bills won’t be big.” And I was saying it a long time before Alan Grayson. I covered health and medicine for several years, and here are some of the things I learned. 1) Every other Western industrialized democracy has, if not single-payer, then some kind of public-private hybrid similar to Obamacare. 2) The U.S. pays twice as much per capita as any other country for health care. 3) For that price, its results are middle-of-the-pack and in some cases — e.g., infant mortality — much worse. It’s gotten so bad that Americans are going elsewhere for procedures

      Comment by Lex — Thursday, October 24, 2013 12:43 pm @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  10. I would also note that that throughout the entire ObamaCare push America has been saying “No” more so than “Yes”. Perhaps legislating against the will of America is unAmerican.

    But perhaps we can look to American history to find what is truly American … choice based on individual liberty rather than unAmerican Democrat solutions based on communal rights.

    == ==

    A simple solution to our health-care issues…

    When insurance pays out, the money should go to the individual to pay for their desired health-care. If that individual finds acceptable health-care at a price lower than the insurance payout that individual should be able to keep the difference.

    This would put consumer pressure on the health-care industry and force costs down benefiting even he poorest among us.

    The draw back? Such a simple solution requires faith in America over faith in governance, something unAmerican Democrats are unable to rise to.

    Comment by NitWitCharmer — Thursday, October 24, 2013 12:07 pm @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  11. Actually, when asked if they want to repeal Obamacare now, almost twice as many Americans say no as say yes. And Obamacare is introducing far more competition for individual insurance in most states than currently exists, because right now health insurers are exempt from antitrust law. (Here in NC, for example, Blue Cross Blue Shield has *95%* of the individual market.)

    And here’s an actual economist on what’s going on with Obamacare. Read it and weep.

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, October 24, 2013 3:41 pm @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  12. A journalist faces reality and reports it. So get out your Kleenex

    Sorry liberals, Obamacare’s problems go much deeper than the Web site

    “Obamacare’s problems go far beyond its Web site.

    A failure in the press coverage of the health-care exchange’s rocky launch has been in allowing people to believe that the problem is a glitchy Web site. This is a failure of language: “The Web site” has become a confusing stand-in phrase for any problem relating to the law’s underlying infrastructure. No one has a very good word to describe everything that infrastructure encompasses.
    In brick-and-mortar terms, it’s the road that leads to the store, the store itself, the payment systems between the store and the government and the manufacturers, the computer system the manufacturers use to fill the orders, the trucks that carry the the product back to the store, the loading dock where the customers pick up the products, and so on
    .
    It’s the problems in that infrastructure — indeed, much more than “just a Web site” — that pose such deep problems for the law.”

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Saturday, October 26, 2013 1:36 pm @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  13. Yes, Fred, the number and variety of back-end interfaces between Healthcare.gov, other government agencies and a multitude of private providers is the real problem. But it’s a technical problem, not a legal one.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, October 27, 2013 8:40 pm @ 8:40 pm | Reply


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